Photo credit: The Star
Last friday, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak unveiled his government’s budget for 2014. In the technology sector, internet access expansion is the main priority for the the next three years.
2014 will see the continuation of the government’s ‘High-Speed Broadband’ (HSBB) project under the National Broadband Initiative (NBI), to meet the ever increasing consumer demand.
Since the Ninth Malaysia Plan 2006 – 2010, the government has an involved investment of RM11.3 billion to collaborate with the private sector to implement the HSBB project with an average speed of 4 Mbps to around 2.3 million premises around urban areas.
The expansion will continue with the government investing another RM1.8 billion to the second phase of HSBB project in collaboration with the private sector. This move is expected to benefit 2.8 million premises and the average speed will be upgraded to 10 Mbps. It is unclear whether this is a 0.5 million increase in penetration, or an additional 2.8 million, on top of the 2.3 million already enjoying the 4 Mbps coverage mentioned earlier.
Another RM1.6 billion will be allocated to expand internet access between 4 and 10 Mbps to 2 million consumers in suburban areas.
Finally, 1,000 telecommunication transmission towers will be built over the next three years around rural areas to expand the internet coverage, at a cost of RM1.5 billion. Part of this initiative also involves laying new underwater cables to increase internet access in Sabah and Sarawak, for an additional RM850 million in investment. These two investments will utilize the Universal Services Provision Fund, which is under the Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) scope.
The entire 2014 Budget speech by the prime minister is available in a PDF format here. The video of the whole speech (in Malay) is embedded below. Jump to 35:49 for the prime minister’s speech on the subject of internet expansion.