Following the much publicised video call between Elon Musk and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, the latter would go on and order 40 units of the Starlink satellite broadband kits for our schools, colleges and universities. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission would then go on and give the green light to Starlink to operate in Malaysia, and now the first of the 40 kits has arrived at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).
In a series of tweets by Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil revealed that the very first Starlink satellite unit has arrived in Malaysia, and then duly handed over to the UiTM Kuala Pilah campus in Negri Sembilan. According to Fahmi, this represents one of the measures the government is taking to solve the issue of internet connectivity in our tertiary education institutions, with a number of other colleges and universities located in remote areas being identified by the government for a Starlink setup too.
Unit Starlink pertama di Malaysia dipasang di UiTM Kuala Pilah! pic.twitter.com/w9ppXa2csT— Fahmi Fadzil 🇲🇾 (@fahmi_fadzil) July 27, 2023
On top of that, Fahmi claims that the Starlink satellite being given to UiTM will also serve as a ‘proof of concept’ of sorts. The goal appears to be to try and help giving better internet to as many students as possible while waiting for the university to expand their WiFi coverage. Fahmi notes that the MCMC has found plenty of blind spots in UiTM Kuala Pilah, with poor outdoor and in-building WiFi coverage. Starlink won’t solve the issue of poor internet infrastructure in UiTM Kuala Pilah of course, but it could be an alternative for students to use while the university improves their WiFi.
“MCMC has found that there are a number of ‘blind spots’ throughout the UiTM Kuala Pilah campus for ‘outdoor coverage’, ‘in-building coverage’ and WiFi ‘access points’.
UiTM Kuala Pilah is one of the 10 UiTM campuses with serious connectivity issues. God willing, the addition of Starlink internet will help ease the problem,” – Fahmi Fadzil
As for the next location to get the Starlink satellite internet in Malaysia, Fahmi says that they’re already working alongside the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to pinpoint several schools and health clinics that could benefit from having satellite internet connectivity. Fahmi adds that they’re also considering a number of Orang Asli communities in rural and remote areas without internet access.
Lastly, Fahmi claims that existing satellite internet service providers will not be sidelined. Instead, the MCMC’s Broadband wireless access will be improved, and that this is all part of the Ministry of Communications and Digital’s efforts to address the issue of internet access in the last 3% of populated areas lacking coverage.