Rural folk access Internet through Community Broadband Centres

KOTA KINABALU: Celcom Axiata Berhad yesterday announced the launch of its Community Broadband Centre (CBC) projects in Bingkor.

The Community Broadband Centre (CBC) is a five-year project initiated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) which is fully funded by the Commission via the Universal Service Provision (USP) fund.

MCMC has awarded Celcom with the Universal Service Provider (USP) title for the provision of Community Broadband Centre (CBC) in 2009.

Being the preferred choice with its high-speed broadband and widest coverage, Celcom has thus far won 37 sites throughout the year for CBC projects in various states in Malaysia.

As part of being appointed as a USP by the MCMC, Celcom is involved in providing broadband services in the form of the Community Broadband Centres (CBCs) to rural areas in Malaysia.

As such 37 sites have been identified, many of which are Felda settlements in Peninsular Malaysia and rural areas in Sabah and Sarawak.

The fundamental objective of CBC Bingkor is to contribute towards bridging the digital barrier between urban and rural communities.

Ultimately, it is hoped that through IT, the socioeconomic progress among the communities from various sectors would further develop.

CBC Bingkor aims to provide Internet access to the rural population of Bingkor and officially started its operation on Oct 15, 2009.

The centre is equipped with facilities which include broadband Internet access with a minimum speed of 2Mbps, 21 desktop computers, a printer, a scanner, copier machine and LCD projector training.

In the first two weeks of its operation, the centre recorded an overwhelming and encouraging 959 visitors.

In the following month (November), it recorded 2,320 visitors.

Currently, there are 284 registered members.

With a one-time membership fee of RM5, members are able to enjoy low charges on Internet access, printing and photocopying with an RM1 hourly rate for Internet and a 10 sen fee per print or copy.

Non-members are charged RM1.50 an hour for using the computers.

“Celcom understands the necessity and relevance of technology in this new era of communication and digital networking.

“This centre brings a number of educated and fun activities together under one roof with substantially better facilities and technology,” said Zurinah Hanafiah, state general manager of Sabah, Celcom Axiata Berhad.

“We are pleased to work with he Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to provide a resource that will serve to educate the rural communities, and hope to meet the target of 50 per cebt household broadband penetration by end of 2010,” she added.

CBC Bingkor serves as a platform for human capital development and capacity building through access to communications services.

Computer related training is provided by the CBC and currently there are 286 students enrolled for the training.

There are also indications that these centres were built to cater to the needs of the under-served segment.

Celcom is therefore actively involved in enhancing broadband penetration and data communications in Malaysia.

All the CBCs will be equipped with the latest IT hardware and broadband connectivity for fast Internet access.

The concept is similar to cyber cafes, except that it uses wireless broadband as the medium for connectivity.

The broadband content used for CBC is also specifically suited to be compatible with the local rural community.

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