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Thursday March 25, 2010

RM1bil initiative to promote high-speed broadband usage

Cheap access for poor students

KUALA LUMPUR: The Govern­ment has several broadband initiatives that will benefit the public, especially underprivileged students.

It has allocated RM1bil to provide schoolchildren from poor households with Internet-enabled netbook computers, as part of the National Broadband Initiative.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak viewing high-definition television channels (above) after launching the National Broadband Initiative and High-Speed Broadband services (left) at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday. - Bernama

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the funding for the programme would be sourced from the Malaysian Communications and Multi­media Commission’s Uni­versal Service Provision Fund.

Under the programme, a student would only have to pay RM38 a month for the netbook and Internet access. Needy students in rural areas will pay even less — RM20 a month.

When the Prime Minister had announced the programme last year, the fee had been set at RM50 a month.

In a jiffy: High Speed Broadband (HSBB) ambassador Nura Aziman demostrating the IPTV technology to members of the public during the launch at Dataran Merdeka, Wednesday. GLENN GUAN/The Star

“Telekom Malaysia helped make this reduction possible,” Najib said when launching UniFi, the telco’s high-speed broadband (HSBB) service and the National Broadband Initiative at the Dataran Merdeka here last night.

He also said HSBB services are vital for the nation’s economic growth, competitiveness, in­­creasing investor confidence, and promoting innovative thinking.

The Prime Minister said RM60mil would be invested to set up community broadband centres that would benefit 615,000 households in 246 locations in the country.

“We are also setting up 138 Internet centres for the rakyat at state information department offices that will benefit 400,000 people,” he said.

The Government will also set up 1,105 e-kiosks at community centres nationwide, at the cost of RM40mil in total.

With the HSBB service, Malaysians will enjoy Internet surfing speeds from 5 megabits per second (Mbps) to 20Mbps. The pricing for the service will be available today on Telekom Malaysia’s website,