Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mobile broadband to be expanded to rural areas

BARCELONA: Malaysia is recognised as among countries which have contributed significantly to the advancement in the mobile broadband industry, Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said.

He said the recognition spurred Malaysia to further expand and expedite the usage of the technology, especially the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), in rural areas.

“WiMAX, via the 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz frequencies, will be the key technology for the mobile industry in Malaysia,” he told reporters at the end of his three-day visit here.

He said that by August, the service would be expanded nationwide through numerous initiatives to be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“We will carry this out in collaboration with Telekom Malaysia and several telcos,” he said.

Rais said among the initiatives was the setting up of community Internet clubs in villages as well as in towns.

“I expect that by August, there will be a greater access to the service in Malaysia,” he said.

Rais is among the ministers in charge of telecommunications who were invited to the ministerial meeting and roundtable discussions involving the government sector and industry players in conjunction with the 2010 World Mobile Telecommunication Congress here.

He said that the recognition was not only due to the country’s mobile phone access, which is at 106% and surpassed the 31% broadband penetration benchmark, but also because of the commitment shown by the government towards the industry and technology.

“We welcome the call for special attention to be given to broadband access due its rapid development globally,” he said. He added that globally, there were about five billion broadband subscribers and that Malaysia too was expected to see an increase in the number of broadband users.

“We are also looking into the latest development in the industry including the long term evolution (LTE), which is the technology beyond 3G, WiFi and WiMAX,” he said.

During the three-day congress involving about 1,000 industry players, Rais, accompanied by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chairman Tan Sri Khalid Ramli, also visited exhibition which showcased the latest ICT gadgets and software.

Based on his observation at the congress and exhibition here, he said, Malaysia was able to keep up with the latest developments in mobile technology. — Bernama

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