Window to faster broadband connectivity


HAVING confirmed that implementation of the multi-billion ringgit National Digital Infrastructure Plan (Jendela) has met its target for 2020, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah must now ensure that strategies and mechanisms for the next phase in 2021 and beyond are continuously and adequately monitored.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic where priority is being given to public health and the economy, the government has nevertheless pressed ahead with the Jendela project to boost digital transformation in the country. This fantastic effort should not be interrupted under any circumstances, as completion of the project will elevate the country onto the next stage of national development.

Moving forward, the government should provide more details on the achievements of Jendela in 2020 so that the rakyat are aware of what’s coming up, especially for rural areas with poor Internet access.

In 2020, RM4.95mil was allocated for Jendela to achieve 91.8% of 4G coverage, 25Mbps mobile speed and the implementation of 5G demo projects. Given that this target has been met, why are reports about poor Internet connection still widespread?

The Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to restrictions in the movement of people and forced them to go online for work, education and business, among other things, has triggered a rise in Internet traffic from 30% to 70% and a corresponding drop in connection speed by between 30% and 40%. A stable Internet connection is critical for the rakyat to enable them to continue with their work, education and business uninterrupted.

The next target is to reach around 96.9% of 4G Internet coverage along with 35Mbps mobile speed and 5G infrastructure planning and preparations. It may be tough to achieve, but it is not impossible with more effective government monitoring and supervision as well as excellent cooperation among the stakeholders, including state governments.

The Federal Government must therefore ensure that state administrations are well informed about Jendela’s aims, implementation and execution strategies to bolster preparations on the ground, for example, getting the necessary approvals for the construction of utilities such as telecommunications towers.

FARHAN KAMARULZAMAN

EMIR Research

Kuala Lumpur

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