Enable more TV White Space for rural communities across Malaysia, says Muhyiddin

PAGOH (March 9): National Recovery Council (MPN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has expressed hope that TV White Space will enable more rural communities across Malaysia to enjoy faster and cheaper broadband connections in the future.

According to the Pagoh member of Parliament, TV White Space has been able to help bridge the digital divide between rural and urban communities.

“Compared to other broadband options such as satellite, fibre optics, 3G/4G/5G or microwave links, TV White Space is a low-cost, easy and fast-to-use broadband connection solution. It is a practical solution for rural areas in Malaysia where TV coverage is high and reaches most rural areas.

“The experience in Pagoh is proof that TV White Space works well in enabling broadband connections to be available in rural areas,” he said in his speech in conjunction with a programme titled “Enabling Rural Connectivity and Bridging the Digital Divide with TV White Space” on Wednesday (March 9). 

Muhyiddin, who officiated the successful deployment of TV White Space in Lenga, Pagoh, noted that although broadband coverage is not an issue in the city, it remains a daunting challenge for the rural community in Malaysia due to various factors.

According to him, the high usage costs are due to remote location, limited broadband connection options, poor coverage and small population density.

He added that there is still a huge gap in broadband access between urban and rural areas. 

Muhyiddin said during his tenure as prime minister, he directed the government to enhance the accessibility of internet facilities throughout the country without leaving the rural areas.

He said the National Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) policy, which was introduced in July last year, is a national-level policy framework to coordinate government policy response in harnessing the socio-economic potential and managing the risks inherent from 4IR. 

“The National 4IR policy takes into account the need to optimise resources and coordinate the implementation of other relevant policies.

“May the people of Lenga benefit from the National 4IR policy introduced with the installation of TV White Space at four locations in Lenga in 2021. This installation has proven to be an effective solution in enabling broadband connections as well,” added Muhyiddin. 

Meanwhile, Microsoft Malaysia public sector lead Sheikh Manzoor Ghani said Microsoft and its strategic partners Enfrasys Consulting Sdn Bhd and Axicom Sdn Bhd remain committed to providing internet to the people of Lenga town to transform Malaysia towards digitisation, especially in rural and remote areas.

He said the TV White Space technology, also known as Super Wi-Fi, can provide many benefits to the people of Lenga town, including being able to bring their local business to a wider market at the national and global stage. 

“With this TV White Space technology, residents in Lenga town can enjoy the internet network,” he said.

The TV White Space trial is part of Microsoft’s Airband initiative, which works with partners to advance digital equity — access to affordable internet, affordable devices, and digital skills — as a platform for empowerment and digital transformation across the world. 

TV White Space technology refers to the unused TV channels or frequencies between the active ones in the VHF and UHF spectrum. 

These “white spaces” are often referred to as the “buffer” channels, placed between active TV channels to protect broadcasting interference. 

This unused white space spectrum can be used to provide broadband internet access while operating harmoniously with surrounding TV channels. 

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