Better Internet connectivity for S'wak with new submarine cable, says state Comms Minister

PPTEL chief executive Jonathan Smith (seated left) and Sains chief operating officer Busiai Seman (right) signing the corporate partnership agreement, witnessed by state Utility and Telecommunication Minister Datuk Julaihi Narawi (second right) and PPTEL chairman Abang Abdillah Izzarim Abang Johari. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Sarawak can look forward to better Internet connectivity following the launch of a new submarine cable to Singapore via Batam and a Tier IV data centre in the state.

State Utility and Telecommunication Minister Datuk Julaihi Narawi said the Batam Sarawak Internet cable system (Basics) and data centre would be an important part of the digitalisation equation to improve Internet connectivity in Sarawak, especially in rural areas.

"With this infrastructure, latency issues like hanging and being unable to connect will be a thing of the past," he said when launching Basics and the data centre here on Tuesday (Sept 6).

Both facilities were privately developed by Kuching-based PP Telecommunication Sdn Bhd (PPTEL) under its new corporate brand identity, Irix.

Julaihi also said the facilities were in line with the state government's plans to become a high-income economy by 2030, incorporating digital adoption and data utilisation to accelerate development.

"The state government realises that digitalisation is key to transforming the economy and technology is the wave of the future.

"It will be difficult to reach the next level of development without adopting future technologies which depend on connectivity.

"As such, Basics and the data centre will play a major role to help Sarawak achieve its target," he said.

PPTEL chief executive Jonathan Smith said Basics was a 700km-long submarine cable connecting Sarawak to the regional telco hub of Singapore via Batam in Indonesia.

He said it consisted of six fibre pairs with 80 wavelengths of 100 Gbps transmission capacity each for a total system capacity of 48 Tbps.

"This cable system is the first step in our vision to make Sarawak a viable option as a regional data hub alongside established players and significantly reduces the latency, or round-trip delay time, between Kuching and Singapore," he said.

Smith also said the data centre in Santubong near here was already operational and provided the landing point for Basics into Sarawak.

He said it was the first data centre in Malaysia to be certified as Tier IV by the Uptime Institute after meeting stringent requirements for infrastructure, security, energy usage and redundancy.

At the launch ceremony, PPTEL signed a corporate partnership agreement with Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd (Sains) on utilising the infrastructure.

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