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State exco for Infrastructure and Transportation Zairil Khir Johari speaks to reporters at Komtar in George Town April 27, 2021. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
State exco for Infrastructure and Transportation Zairil Khir Johari speaks to reporters at Komtar in George Town April 27, 2021. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, Sept 2 — Penang will be installing smart street poles in the state that can be used to provide free WiFi among other telecommunication functions under its Penang Connectivity Master Plan (PCMP), state executive councillor Zairil Khir Johari said today.

Zairil (PH-Tanjung Bungah) told the Penang state legislative assembly that under the pilot project, a few smart street poles have already been installed. 

“We can replace Penang Free WiFi with smart street poles in public areas where we can install WiFi in these poles,” he said in reply to an additional question from state assemblyman Lee Khai Loon (PH-Machang Bubuk). 

He said the smart street pole project was delayed due to the lockdown as the pilot project was supposed to be rolled out last year.

However, he said a few pilot smart street poles have since been installed and now the state authorities are drafting a request for a proposal (RFP) to install the smart street poles for the rest of the state.

“The state government has decided to continue with this project so an RFP will be called soon with co-operation from the local authorities, maybe we can do it by district,” he said. 

When contacted, the infrastructure and transport committee chairman explained that the pilot smart street poles were installed and funded by a telecommunications company. 

He said other than telecommunications capabilities, other functionalities can be installed in the smart street poles including public WiFi, CCTV and sensors depending on the location of the poles and the needs of the location.

He added that some of the poles might also have 5G capabilities to be part of the 5G rollout in the state. 

Earlier, in answer to a question by Joseph Ng Soon Siang (PH-Air Itam) on the efforts that the state is taking to improve Internet connectivity, he said the state is collaborating with nine telecommunications (telco) service providers to come up with the PCMP. 

The nine are Celcom Networks Sdn Bhd, Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, UMobile Sdn Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, TIME dotcom Bhd, YTL Communications Sdn Bhd, Webe Digital Sdn Bhd and Allo Technology Sdn Bhd. 

He said the PCMP strategy included the development of telco infrastructure and a better management and public awareness of the development of telecommunications infrastructure in Penang.

There were several strategic initiatives proposed under the PCMP such as introducing new fiberisation methods, the smart street poles, preparation of fibre optics for schools under the state government through the Gigabit City Project by TT Dot Com, preparation of fibre optics for schools under the Education Ministry through the school fiberisation project, implementation of micro cell project using existing street furniture and preparing a fiberisation guideline for the state.

The six KPIs to be achieved include 100 per cent Gigabit readiness for high impact areas in the state  by 2023, 50 per cent of low impact areas to achieve 500Mbps by 2025, 100 per cent fibre optics for schools, hospitals, libraries, police stations and post offices by 2025, an average broadband speed of 50 Mbps for all residential areas by 2025, drop call rate of less than three per cent, call successful rate of more than 95 per cent in the Green Connectors in Penang by 2023 and resolutions for 90 per cent of complaints regarding telco structures in Penang.

 

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