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MCMC: Satellite broadband to be deployed at 839 locations in Malaysia by October 2021

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has issued an invitation for the installation and provisioning of broadband access services via satellite at 839 locations throughout Malaysia. This will be implemented under the JENDELA plan and it would cover states such as Johor, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, Sabah and Sarawak.

Most of these locations are in remote areas where provisioning of public cellular services and mobile broadband will take a considerable time to deploy. Satellite broadband is seen as a quick and interim solution as high-speed broadband can deployed in just a matter of days. 178 (21%) will be deployed in Peninsular Malaysia, 138 (17%) are in Sabah and 523 (62%) are in Sarawak.

The MCMC aims to deploy all sites successfully by October 2021. Residents at the 839 locations will enjoy free WiFi access with an average speed of 35Mbps. Interested parties are invited to register their interest and submit their draft universal service plans under Regulation 5 of the Communications and Multimedia (Universal Service Provision) Regulations 2002.

According to the RFP document, the designed Universal Service Provider will be entitled to claim the CAPEX and OPEX cost from the Universal Service Provision (USP) fund. In 2019, the fund has gained RM1.53 billion in contribution from telcos and RM0.34 billion in interest.

At the moment, MEASAT’s ConnectMe has been deployed at over 1,000 sites in rural Malaysia. Targetted at areas without fibre and 4G access, ConnectMe can provide 100% nationwide coverage with speeds of up to 30Mbps. The service can provide higher speeds up to 100Mbps once the MEASAT-3d satellite is launched in 2022.

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Under the Connectme Now initiative, satellite broadband can be deployed at remote areas with zero cost upfront. Users can gain access to the WiFi service via prepaid vouchers which are sold at RM10 per 1GB or RM40 for 5GB. When the service was deployed at Kg Waluhu in Sabah, the state government had sponsored 300GB worth of Connectme prepaid vouchers.

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Alexander Wong