The Communications and Digital Ministry will approach Starlink satellite internet service provider to consider opening a customer service office in Sarawak. This move comes in response to the high demand for Starlink satellite kits in rural areas where better internet access is needed.
Minister Fahmi Fadzil stated that the ministry would request Starlink to open a customer service office in Kuching, Sarawak. However, the decision ultimately lies with Starlink. He made this statement during a press conference after launching the Digital Economy Centre (PEDi) Community Day in Bau.
Fahmi highlighted the poor internet connection in Kampung Puak, Bau, despite the presence of telecommunication towers. Technical factors have delayed the operation of these towers for nine months. In the meantime, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has utilized Starlink satellite devices to provide internet access to residents in rural villages at a speed of 200Mbps.
However, due to the limitation of a 100-meter radius, some areas have requested an extension of the range. Fahmi assured that his ministry and MCMC would consider such requests to improve internet connectivity in rural communities.
Starlink, operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, offers high-speed broadband using low earth orbit satellites, which leads to lower latency than regular satellite broadband services.
Fahmi also mentioned that the Internet speed offered by PEDi in the Krokong area is currently 20Mbps. He has requested an upgrade to 100Mbps in the near future. This would benefit more residents in Bau, allowing them to engage in e-commerce and digitization efforts.
There are currently 133 operational PEDi centers in Sarawak, with an additional 23 PEDi centers being implemented. In Bau alone, there are seven operational PEDi centers, including PEDi Krokong, PEDi Kampung Bogag, PEDi Kampung Serasot, PEDi Kampung Skio, PEDi Kampung Sibuluh, PEDi Tanjung Bowang, and PEDi Kampung Peninjau Baru.
Fahmi highlighted the success story of Monica Busut, an entrepreneur who has successfully sold handicraft products through PEDi Sibuluh. Her revenue increased from RM200 to RM2,000 per month, showcasing the government’s efforts to boost the local economy through digitalization.
Overall, the Ministry of Communications and Digital aims to improve internet connectivity in rural areas through collaborations with service providers like Starlink to bridge the digital divide.