Kuala Lumpur, 9 APRIL, 2011: There is nothing new in a promise made by opposition parties to provide free WiFi Internet service for the people. Such a service was planned by the government, some time ago, part of which has already been implemented.
In fact, the service infrastructure provided and will be provided by the government is extended to rural areas, and not just focused on urban and suburban areas as promised by the opposition in its master plan, dubbed the Orange Book.
An information, communication and technology (ICT) enthusiast, Muhammad Nizam Ismail, said the plan by the opposition was just an attempt to pull the wool over the people’s eyes because it knew the service was already made available in most areas.
“All this while, most mamak restaurants, food courts and shopping mall have been providing free WiFi Internet service as part of their attraction. So, the opposition can stop trying to champion the issue by claiming that it is their effort,” he said.
According to Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, the government had already introduced the WiFi Village project, involving over 3,100 villages in 400 parliamentary and state constituencies nationwide.
Over the past four months, the service has been made available in 180 villages, and the ministry anticipated that all villages would be able to fully enjoy the service in another 18 months.
“The implementation of the project has been sped up because, based on the feedbacks so far, the project has really received overwhelming response, especially from the younger generation in the rural areas,” said Rais.
Each project is expected to cost RM15,000, if it were to use the public phone access, and between RM25,000 and RM30,000, using the satellite, depending on its distance from the town centre or community centre equipped with Internet wireless facilities.
The government needs only three per cent more to achieve its target of having 60 per cent broadband penetration in urban areas by year-end.
Over the past two years, the Barisan Nasional government has also implemented the broadband project through WiFi Village, building fibre-optic network and hundreds of telecommunication towers for the purpose.
“These facts should be relayed to the people so that they will not fall for the opposition’s empty promises,” said Imsil Mohd Shahriman, a resident of Kampung Tersusun Tasek in Ipoh, Perak.
A British-American writer, Cassandra James, who is residing in Bangkok, Thailand, in her online forum, said she was awed by the Internet service made available in Kuala Lumpur now, as compared to several years ago.
As such, she also admitted that Kuala Lumpur was one of the best cities in Southeast Asia, in providing free WiFi Internet service.
The writer also said that although the initiatives were probably taken by private companies, restaurant owners and shopping mall operators, they were also due to the government’s support and encouragement through various incentives and subsidies to produce a knowledgeable and informative Malaysian society.
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