TM is working on a solution to improve connectivity for Veveonah’s village in Sabah

After the 24 hours in a tree video went viral, TM has managed to track down Veveonah who’s living at Kampung Sapatalang, Pitas in Sabah. To recap, she had to climb a tree to get a stronger mobile signal in order to complete her online exams. TM’s regional director Dato Hj Mohd Sainal Mohd Amin and his staff had met up with UMS student to better understand her situation

According to TM Sabah’s Facebook post, Veveonah is a very dedicated student and she wants to help her family to improve their quality of life. Although her internet connection isn’t that great, she has proven that it isn’t a barrier with persistence.

At the moment, her family is staying in a church as their home is currently under repair. The TM Sabah team has updated that they are still in a research stage and they strive to improve the quality of connectivity at her location.

The MCMC has issued a statement yesterday that Kampung Sapatalang will receive connectivity improvements under the NFCP Phase 1. Under the NFCP, assigned operators are required to deploy network services via 3G and 4G to deliver an average speed of 30Mbps. At the moment, her village is covered with 3G from a tower that’s located 1.4km away from her village.

Although Malaysia aims to roll out 5G this year, there’s still a digital divide between urban and rural areas. Availability of 3G and 4G is still lacking in sparsely populated areas which limits opportunities for rural folks.

For operators, it isn’t feasible to expand network coverage in low-density areas and it would make more business sense to invest in areas that they can serve more customers. That’s where the NFCP comes in and it utilises the Universal Service Provision (USP) fund to roll out and improve telecommunications infrastructure in underserved areas.

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One of the major targets of the initiative is to provide average speeds of 30Mbps in 98% of populated areas by 2023. The plan also aims to improve mobile coverage across the Pan Borneo Highway upon completion. During the 2020 budget, the government has also allocated RM250 million to improve connectivity via satellite-based broadband access in interior areas, especially Sabah and Sarawak.

At the time of writing, Veveonah’s video has accumulated over 460,000 views. Her YouTube channel has just crossed the 60,000 mark.


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Alexander Wong