KUALA LUMPUR: The Covid-19 pandemic rebuilt our lives into one centred around Internet connectivity and digitalisation. As such, the resilience and capability of broadband networks have become more crucial.
Pelan Jalinan Digital Negara or Jendela was launched in September 2020 with the goal of putting in place a robust, high quality and affordable digital connectivity by improving broadband quality and coverage, and providing Internet access to all corners of the country.
Jendela targets to connect nine million premises using fibre, expand 4G coverage to 100% of populated areas, and increase mobile broadband speed to 100Mbps by end 2025.
Overcoming topographical and environmental challenges, Phase 1 (2020-2022) which concluded last Dec 31 surpassed its initial target and achieved 7.74 million premises connected, 96.92% 4G coverage in populated areas, and average 116.03Mbps broadband speed.
This would pave the way for Phase 2 (2023-2025) – expanding the use of 5G network services nationwide.
To improve mobile coverage in rural and remote areas, 839 sites received broadband wireless access (BWA) via satellite connectivity – among them Kampung Orang Asli Pulau Kempas in Banting and Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Judah in Pulau Carey (Selangor) and Kampung Orang Asli Ulu Lakai in Negeri Sembilan.
This is a creative and expedient interim solution to resolve connectivity challenges in remote areas with low population density until better connectivity methods become available.
In addressing connectivity challenges, the rollout of 5G coverage was brought forward from Phase 2 to Phase 1. As of last Dec 31, the 5G network achieved 47.1% coverage of populated areas with 3,906 sites including Cyberjaya, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur as well some parts in Johor, Kelantan, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah and Sarawak.
The shutdown of 3G nationwide in 2022 under Phase 1 enabled the 3G spectrum to be repurposed to enhance the 4G network performance, allowing for better quality-of-experience for all users with improved capacity, data speeds and broadband coverage.
While building the digital infrastructure is the main focus for Jendela, customers’ quality-of-experience is equally important.
The Jendela map, available online and via the app, is a platform for users to check fixed and wireless broadband coverage and channel feedback to MCMC as well as receive status updates on their feedback.
It is an independent information system to guide and inform service providers and the public on the telecommunication services and coverage available. The public will be able to make an informed decision on which service provider will provide them with the best service.
Access to Internet connectivity influences individual lifestyle and for businesses, connectivity equals competitiveness.
The efforts of Jendela, which began in September 2020 with the goal of improving the quality of digital infrastructure and services across the country, have narrowed the digital divide as well as enabled the digital transformation to allow all Malaysians – regardless of location and social status – to stay connected.
Now more than ever, Malaysians are able to enjoy a better experience when browsing the Internet, sending messages, using social media, streaming videos and using other online services.
For businesses, it further expedites their digital transformation which in turn makes them more resilient in a highly competitive environment.
For Phase 2 (2023-2025), the focus is on digital inclusion and to leverage multiple technologies by maximising Internet coverage and leveraging multiple technologies like 4G, 5G, satellite and more to provide reliable connectivity with higher speeds.
As Internet connectivity becomes ever more important, new technologies are emerging to connect the world with better and faster service.
Therefore, this is imperative to achieve the goals of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) and the National Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Policy in effectively transforming Malaysia into a high-income nation.