Theft and vandalism blamed for poor Internet connectivity in rural areas

KUALA LUMPUR: Theft and vandalism are among reasons why some rural areas experience poor Internet connectivity, says Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin.

"There are cases of copper and fibre-optic wire that are dug up and stolen.

"There are also times when the generator sets used to power the transmission towers are stolen.

"That is why connectivity is sometime lost suddenly in some areas," Zahidi said when answering a question by Sabri Azit (PAS-Jerai) in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Aug 3).

To a supplementary question by Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong (GPS-Hulu Rejang), Zahidi said that even solar powered transmission towers have suffered from vandalism.

He said the government is looking at new technologies to improve connectivity in Sabah and Sarawak.

He said that the connectivity in rural areas is quite good at present, with less than 20% “red zone” areas where there is no connectivity at all.

He said the government will meet to formulate a National Digitisation Plan to address issue of Internet connectivity particularly in rural areas and city outskirts.

Earlier, Zahidi informed the House that as at June this year, a total of 639,676 broadband connections were recorded with 34,781 in the process of being connected.

He added that efforts are being made to increase the use of fibre optics among some 933,724 customers within the next two years.

As at June this year, a total of 2,360 communication towers have been built with 280 under construction.

He added that equipment at 5,348 transmission towers had been upgraded to support 3G and 4G services, with 11 more towers being upgraded.

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