Malaysia will expand Internet coverage to rural areas, and push ahead with the second phase of a high-speed broadband (HSBB) project that will benefit areas. The government will invest RM$1.8 billion (US$574 million) to roll out the second phase of its HSBB project in partnership with the private sector, said Prime Minister Najib Razak, in his Budget speech on Friday. The initiative will provide additional coverage and facilities mainly in urban areas, benefitting 2.8 million households nationwide, noted the Malaysian Reserve news site.
The HSBB project has already rolled out with Internet access speed of 4Mbps and benefitting 2.3 million premises, particularly in urban areas, noted the report. The next phase will be expanded to suburban areas with their access speeds rising to between 4Mbps and 10Mbps, which will benefit two million consumers. To increase Internet access in Sabah and Sarawak, new underwater cables will be laid within three years at a cost of RM$850 million (US$271 million), noted Reuters.
In March, the government announced an initiative to provide free 30 minutes' worth of Internet usage everyday to households earning less than RM$3,000 (US$963.39) so more Malaysians can "contribute to country's growing digital penetration".