GEORGE TOWN, May 11 — Penang aims to be the first state in Malaysia to become a gigabit city that offers high speed internet and more reliable broadband connection to businesses and local services.

Penang Public Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the state government was ready to work with all the telecommunications companies to set up their infrastructure in order to realise the dream of gigabit city.

“Most of the telecommunications companies face problems with the authorities  in setting-up their telecommunications infrastructure.

“So today, we have the Penang Connectivity Master Plan with seven telecommunications companies to spearhead the development of telecommunications infrastructure in Penang in line with the Penang 2030 vision of a family-friendly, green and smart state to inspire the nation,” he told reporters here today.

He added that the state also needed to get ready within the next two years with the proper infrastructure to welcome the 5G network.

Earlier, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow chaired the first meeting of the Penang Connectivity Master Plan with all seven chief executive officers of the telecommunications companies as well as chairman of Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Al Ishsal Ishak, at Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (Komtar) here.

Zairil said according to MCMC, Penang had achieved 100 percent penetration in 3G network coverage and 97.7 per cent in 4G LTE which put Penang above the national average of 81.6 per cent and 79.6 per cent respectively.

“In terms of broadband coverage and average download speed, Penang is one of the highest in the country but we cannot afford to rest on our laurels and in order to realise our ambitions, we need the cooperation and collaboration of all stakeholders including MCMC and the seven telecommunication providers,” he said.

He said the Master Plan aims to fulfil the demands of the public and industry, address the challenges faced by the telecommunications companies in infrastructure rollout and also optimise and improve state policies and governance in order to facilitate the efficient development of Penang’s digital needs.

However, Zairil who is also state assemblyman for Tanjong Bunga said in order for the Penang Connectivity Master Plan to materialise, a task force with a three-tier structure will be formalised.

“The Penang Connectivity Master Plan will be a clear blueprint for the coordination, planning and execution of all telecommunications related matters in Penang. It will also be guided by federal-driven policies such as the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP),” he said. — Bernama