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Malaysia allocates USD 711 million for connectivity expansion

The programs include laying the foundation for new 5G networks.

Malaysia plans to broaden connectivity reach through NFCP. Picture courtesy of National Fiberization and Connectivity Plan.

Malaysia’s telco regulator the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has announced a MYR 3 billion (USD 711.5 million) allocation for six programs under the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) in 2020.

The programs aim to reduce the digital divide through the expansion of coverage and improvements in the quality of both fixed and mobile broadband. The programs also include laying the foundation for new 5G networks.

MCMC claims that the NFCP projects will uplift the socio-economic well-being of Malaysians, as well as offer direct benefits to the entire ecosystem comprising communications service providers, local contractors, infrastructure and equipment manufacturers, and solutions providers.

The NFCP is also expected to boost investments and innovations in related industries and lead to new job opportunities. MCMC estimates 20,000 new jobs will be created over the  five year implementation period, starting in 2019.

“Investments into the digital infrastructure is imperative as the country enters the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in order to stimulate the national economic growth as well as provide better opportunities for Malaysians in the digital economy,” said MCMC chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak in a statement.

The first NFCP phase involving the installation of telecommunication towers nationwide started on February 15. The second phase has yet to commence, pending proposal submissions from eligible licensees.

NFCP phase three targets the provisioning of fibre optic broadband access networks and services, with speeds of up to 500 Mbps in commercial and residential premises within 74 towns in suburban and rural areas. The areas identified include Sabah, Sarawak, Johor, Selangor, Kedah, Perak, Pahang, and Kelantan. The request for proposal for this phase was issued on February 14 2020 and will close on May 12 2020.

The sum invested in for these projects comes from the Universal Service Provision fund, a collective fund accumulated from contributions by telcos.