The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is aware of the viral story about a Sabahan student that spent overnight in a tree to complete her online exam. They have surveyed her location at Kampung Sapatalang in Pitas, Sabah and found that her area is within 3G coverage.
According to MCMC, there’s a telecommunication tower located 1.4km from her village that provides 3G coverage. It added that the 3G reception can enable students to take their exams online, however, better coverage is needed for streaming activities.
As shown in the video, her mobile device is using Tune Talk which utilises Celcom’s network but it appears that she’s connected to a hotspot from another device. At the time of writing, her video has accumulated over 360,000 views and she now has over 46,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel.
Upgrade to 4G is coming
The statement said that mobile infrastructure improvements have been planned and a new telecommunications tower will be erected at Kampung Bilangau Kecil which is located close to Kampung Sapatalang. Once completed, it will provide an optimal mobile reception for her village.
The new tower is part of the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan Phase 1 which is expected to be completed in Q2 2021. The NFCP initiative was announced in 2019 and is meant to bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban areas in Malaysia. Connectivity will help to provide more equal opportunities for all.
Under NFCP 1 and NFCP 2, operators are required to deploy network services using 3G and 4G to deliver an average speed of 30Mbps. Both projects will be funded via the Universal Service Provision (USP) Fund.
Huge connectivity gap in Malaysia
As highlighted by Opensignal’s report, there’s a huge connectivity gap between cities and rural areas. City folks enjoy 4G availability as high as 83.7% while people in rural areas with a population of less than 10 people per square KM has a lower 4G availability of 44%. Even when it come to 3G, the least populated areas in Malaysia has a 3G availability of just 72.9%. That means 1/4 of the time, they are either connected to 2G or have no signal at all.
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