MCMC to allocate RM1b to expand broadband coverage: Salleh

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will allocate RM1 billion to expand the coverage and quality of broadband in the country, especially in rural areas.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the ministry would collaborate with state governments to resolve issues pertaining to the provision of telecommunications infrastructure and services, which fell under their respective authorities.

"To improve the quality of telecommunications services in the rural areas, the (federal) government has focused on improving the 3G coverage by constructing new communication towers and upgrading existing ones via the Universal Service Provision (USP) programme," he said when winding up the debate on the 2017 Supply Bill for his ministry at the Dewan Rakyat here today.

As for 4G mobile broadband coverage, Salleh said the expansion was now being implemented with focus on main, medium and small cities.

"So far, the population 4G coverage is 63% and it will be extended to rural areas in stages until 2020," he said.

In replying to a question by Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng (BN-Tanjung Piai) on monopoly issue, Salleh said such issue did not arise as qualified parties could apply for a licence to supply the services.

On the issue concerning high-speed broadband projects, he said the implementation of such facility in the country, involving one million premises, was now entering its second phase, and would be expected to complete by next year.

In addition, Salleh said the government was now implementing the Broadband for General Population project, involving seven links along the 170km of fibre optic cable networks, which was also to be completed next year.

On the other hand, the Sub-Urban Broadband projects was started last year to go on till 2019, he said, adding the installation would cover 252,000 premises in the sub-urban areas which were identified.

On the issue of sexual grooming online, including paedophile cases, Salleh hoped the community would play its part effectively by controlling the children's use of telecommunications facilities, and report to the authorities if there were doubtful communications between the children and someone on the internet.

Meanwhile, the minister said MCMC collaborated with Internet Service Providers (ISP) to come out with Parental Control Application Tools to enable them to self monitor and filter the contents accessed by their children.

On the issue pertaining to online gambling monitoring, Salleh said the ISPs provided screening system to block the sending of short messaging service promoting online gambling activity.

"This can be seen through the reduction of complaints received by MCMC, from 194 complaints in March to 40 complaints in September," he said. — Bernama