TM urged to expedite installation of Unifi network in Sabah’s rural areas

KOTA KINABALU: Telekom Malaysia (TM) has been urged to speed up the installation of Unifi network in the suburban and rural areas of Sabah to make it easier for students to continue with their “home-based learning” during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.

In making the call, Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the facility will enable students to participate actively during online learning at home, as well as to cater to increasing demand for e-commerce under the ‘new norm’.

“I have been made to understand that TM has been awarded all the ‘Universal Service Provider (USP)’ projects by the government to install fiber optic networks and services in the rural and interior areas.

“I was also made to understand that the USP Project 2020 has again been awarded to TM early this year. Unfortunately, to-date, no work has started under this new award,” he said in a statement today.

Jeffrey said this is the most critical-yet-appropriate time for the government to assist the students in Sabah by improving the telecommunications and internet networks in the state, especially in rural areas, thus enabling students to continue with their education online at home until the schools reopen.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Sabah Ministry of Education, he said, it was estimated that around 50% of students in Sabah do not have smartphones or internet data, or both.

In this respect, Jeffrey said he would bring the matter up to the attention of his two federal colleagues — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (in charge of Sabah, Sarawak Affairs), Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, and the Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, with a view to expediting the implementation of the much-needed cellular network project to improve the internet coverage. - Bernama