Malaysia Communication and Multimedia Commission has a heavy task come 2021, the agency responsible to ensure every Malaysian is connected and able to enjoy high speed broadband is looking at various options for the last mile connectivity gap. While the major telecommunications player have been providing coverage in most urban centres there are deadspots in particular of rural areas where connectivity is still abysmal. Plans are afoot to solve this concern.
Measat the satellite service provider more popularly known for their association with Astro has been working on delivering high speed broadband to population in remote locations in the country. Its CONNECTme NOW, service is Malaysia’s first prepaid satellite broadband WiFi Hotspot service that is provided using satellite technology. Rolled out in 2019, the service has just reached a 1000 rural location installation when it was installed in Data Kakus.
Measat uses Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) and High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technology to bring connectivity to these places. Locations that is impossible for fixed or wireless tower to be erected are solved by using satellite, perceived to be a costly solution in the past, mass deployment and cost spread has brought the service to an affordable rate during recent times. Connectme Now offers users no contract or fixed monthly charges, subscribers only pay for what they use with a Prepaid Access Code (PAC) Vouchers used at CONNECTme NOW community WiFi hotspots. Noted by Peter Dano Amit, Head of the Long House, Data Kakus the satellite-based broadband services by is an ideal and practical solution in providing connectivity to communities in these areas where infrastructure is a main challenge.
Notably to install a conventional telecommunication setup in rural areas such as Data Kakus, it would take a phenomenal effort to fix terrestrial communication infrastructures as the massive pieces of equipment to set up the site need to be brought over the difficult terrain areas in off-road vehicles. It would be a strenuous journey and will take a much longer time to connect the cables and fix the connecting internet fibres underground. Measat’s service provides 30Mbps for now but other satellites that can offer up to 100 Mbps to address the 4G requirement.
MEASAT is presently building its next generation satellite, MEASAT-3d to support cost- effective high-speed broadband to help achieve 100% 4G coverage in populated areas and 100 Mbps speeds in areas without any terrestrial network to ensure no Malaysian is left behind in the digital age.