MEASAT is currently on a mission to connect as many unserved rural communities with its ConnectMe Now satellite broadband service. Bridging the digital divide is more than just providing connectivity and MEASAT’s ConnectMe Now service wants to be the catalyst to enable a digitally inclusive society among rural folks who have been left out from eCommerce, online banking and various digital services. To drive digitalisation, MEASAT has partnered with Parcel365 for the Kampung Digital 365 initiative.
While eCommerce has been booming in Malaysia, the rural communities are often left out due to the lack of basic infrastructure. Although the connectivity issue can be addressed by satellite broadband, there are many locations that are not served by your typical postal and courier service as they don’t even have a proper address. On top of that, most current eCommerce platforms require digital payments which are not widely used by rural communities. To make matters worse, they couldn’t even get OTP SMS as most of them are out of mobile coverage.
This is where Parcel365 comes in to address the logistic and eCommerce challenges faced by these communities. As a company that handles eCommerce parcel deliveries with Pickup and Drop off points (PUDO), Parcel365 is extending its solution to enable pick-up and delivery in remote villages without proper addresses. Not only it enables rural communities to buy things online but it also allows them to sell their own local produce and goods to a larger audience.
To support digital commerce, Parcel365 has also launched its Shopla365 platform which provides support and digital solutions for rural communities. They also provide training to expand their digital economy potential under the Program Transformasi Usahawan (PTU).
Electricity supply is also one of the biggest challenges faced by the community and relying on petrol-powered generators is not economically feasible and sustainable in the long run. Under the initiative, they have worked closely with the local community to install solar panels and establish a portable power supply rental service which is more cost-effective.
Local residents can rent what essentially is a portable “power bank” that can power up lights, fans, TVs or light home appliances for RM30/month. If the portable power supply is out of juice, they can recharge at the solar-powered charging station for RM5-RM10 per charge. We were told that this solar and battery solution is more cost-effective as it is 50% cheaper than using a petrol generator.
Pos Sinderut is the first Proof of Concept (POC) site for Kampung Digital 365 and they are planning for more POC locations at Pos Titom and Pos Lenjang. As MEASAT is expanding its ConnectMe Now sites nationwide, it aims to have 400-500 Kampung Digital 365 locations by the end of this year. Besides enabling eCommerce and a self-sustainable power solution, Kampung Digital 365 also aims to enable telemedicine, digital government services as well as digital banking facilities for the unserved and unbanked communities.
With the launch of MEASAT-3d, ConnectMe Now has the potential to connect 2 million unserved Malaysians with speeds of up to 100Mbps via its Ka-band satellite broadband service. As revealed yesterday, ConnectMe Now has 4,000 sites which have been migrated from Ku-band to Ka-band. It targets to have 7,500 sites by the end of 2024.