DCM: We need alternative ICT technologies for rural coverage
Sarawak Tribune - Tuesday, 29 April, 2003
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KUCHING - The State government will look into alternative technologies such as wireless and satellite to extend comprehensive ICT infrastructure to the rural areas of the State.

In reply to question by Lee Kim Shin (BN-Senadin), Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Finance and Public Utilities, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr George Chan said that it was expensive and difficult to provide comprehensive ICT facilities in a very large state with low population density.

"But it is a challenge to bridge the gap between the rural and urban areas," he said.

With that, he said, the government had established Sacofa Sdn. Bhd. as another telecommunication company to complement and extend telecommunication coverage to rural areas in the State where other telecommunication companies could not financially go into.

Revealing the State strategy to achieve a knowledge-based society through the development of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) in the State Public Service, Dr Chan noted that the State Public Service was now considered as one of the leading users of ICT in the country.

"I am pleased to inform that despite the largest geographical spread and low population density, most State agencies including local authorities and statutory bodies are connected statewide through the SarawakNet," he said.

Dr Chan said that the government would pursue the current strategies, to include all government offices throughout the State via SarawakNet.

He added that the government would implement its public oriented services online, which would enable the public to access government services easily and induce the public to be ICT literate.

According to him, SarawakNet had extended its coverage to district areas and the government was planning to connect it to the sub-districts by end of 2003.

On human resource development, he said the State would continue giving full support to efforts by the Federal Government and working jointly with non-government organisations to promote ICT appreciation and literacy in the State.