SMART bridging Sarawak’s digital divide

KUCHING: Nearly half of the 600 telecommunication towers being built under the Sarawak Multimedia Authority Rural Telecommunication (SMART) initiative are already in operation, it was announced.

Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) general manager Datuk Dr Anderson Tiong said 258 SMART towers were operational as of March 15.

“All 600 SMART towers are expected to be in operation by the end of 2025,” he added.

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Earlier this month, Deputy Communications Minister Teo Nie Ching said the Sarawak government, through SMA and the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation Bhd (SDEC), was building 600 towers under the SMART 600 initiative.

She told the Dewan Rakyat that the initiative aimed to enhance mobile broadband coverage in the state.

Tiong said there were also other components under the Sarawak Linking Urban, Rural and National (Saluran) initiative to improve mobile broadband coverage across the state in addition to SMART 600 and the National Digital Network Plan (Jendela).

He said this included broadband wireless access using satellite connectivity as an interim solution for connectivity issues in remote areas with challenging geographical terrain.

Another interim solution is WiFi Saluran to bridge the connectivity gap while awaiting the completion of the SMART infrastructure.

Tiong also said the Sebauh rural high-speed open broadband network was tailored specifically for the Sebauh area in Bintulu to bring high-speed broadband to rural communities and empower them with enhanced connectivity.

In addition, he said SDEC was implementing the Sarawak rural broadband network (MySRBN) initiative to advance digital inclusion and economic growth across rural Sarawak through comprehensive broadband network development.

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