The Suburban Broadband Project, which will provide high-speed Internet coverage, is not affected even though the government faced various constraints including finance due to the amount of national debt, says Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo.
He said the goal of providing broadband facilities of up to 20 megabytes (MB) in suburban areas nationwide would still be implemented to bridge the digital gap between the urban and rural areas because the government has sufficient funds for the purpose.
“The question on how to build and upgrade the telecommunications and broadband networks in the areas concerned when the government faces debts and financial issues should not arise. The government has a Universal Service Provision (USP) fund.
“Telecommunications companies are channeling some of their profits or funds to a fund (USP) and this is used for programmes and broadband connectivity projects in the rural areas. So the funds are there,” he told the Dewan Rakyat sitting yesterday during the oral question-and-answer session.
Gobind was replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Hasbullah Osman (BN-Gerik) on the ministry’s plan to repair the rural telecommunications network to be at par with that in urban areas.
To a question from Khoo Poay Tiong (PH-Kota Melaka) on the action by Telekom Malaysia (TM) and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) to withdraw from the fibre development implementation project, Govind said the decision did not affect the government’s efforts to provide Internet connectivity nationwide, including enhancing high-speed broadband.
As of March this year, a total of 379,246 broadband connections are fully available while 114,620 are still in the implementation stage, he said.