Abang Johari (centre) at the launch of the Luban Ulu telecommunications tower with (from left) Betong Resident Friday Belik, Betong MP Datuk Robert Lawson Chuat, Pantai Damai assemblyman Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Unggah Embas, Sarawak Multimedia Authority general manager Dr Zaidi Razak, Kemena assemblyman Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi ak Utom, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Abang Hj Khalid Tan Sri Abang Hj Marzuki and Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap.

KUCHING: Residents of Luban Ulu in Betong can heave a sigh of relief as they now have faster and more reliable access to the internet.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in launching the Luban Ulu telecommunications tower on Saturday (Sept 26) said the improved internet coverage will be a boon to the local economy.

“With the newly installed 4G network facilities, the people in Luban Ulu, Betong — the state’s food basket areas — can communicate with one another and do online business.

“We can see the potential in the area. Betong’s products such as tilapia and recently, ikan patin, have been exported to Singapore and Malaya,” he said when officiating at the function.

Abang Johari said the improved internet access will also pave the way to full cashless payment adoption through the use of mobile payment application, Sarawak Pay.

The chief minister said besides improving internet connectivity, other developments projects are also progressing in the area such as the construction of the Spaoh airport.

“Some people said that I am making empty promises when I say we will build Spaoh airport, but we’ll see in two years’ time airplanes flying in and out of this place,” he said.

Abang Johari said the state government is determined to extend internet access to all nooks and corners of Sarawak by all means necessary.

“I thank the internet service providers (ISPs) that agreed to come in and supply their services. But then again, the companies also depend on whether they will make a profit before they agree to come in.

“That is why I asked for companies under Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) to be given licences to provide internet access to the people. If the ISP companies are not doing it, we have to step in,” he said.

The chief minister said for places where telecommunication signals are weak, the state government has invested a total of RM50 million in VSAT (very-small-aperture terminal) to boost their access.