HONOLULU, Hawaii: Sarawak’s strong investment potential has been highlighted to international telecommunications players by a delegation of senior officials from the Sarawak government and Sarawak based telecommunications companies SACOFA Sdn Bhd (Sacofa) and PP Telecommunication Sdn Bhd (PPTEL) at the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) Conference 2020 held from January 19 to 22, 2020.
Sarawak delegation leader Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani, who is a board member of Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), emphasised that one of the Sarawak Digital Economy initiatives is to leapfrog Sarawak into a regional digital powerhouse, bolstered by the ever-expanding infrastructure, implementation of cutting-edge technology and deep commitment of the industry players to support and grow the telecommunications ecosystem.
While SMA is spearheading the comprehensive initiatives of Sarawak’s Digital Economy to develop the State into a high-income economy as envisioned by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, Sacofa and PPTEL are diligently doing their part to facilitate world class internet connectivity via an elaborate network of submarine cables and interchanges to link Sarawak to the rest of the world.
Sacofa, owns and manages the largest number of telecommunications structures in the State and over11,000km of terrestrial fibre network and submarine cable system. The cable system, Sacofa Undersea Cable Infrastructure (SUCI), connects Kuching, Sarawak to Mersing, Johor, with links to Singapore and Batam, Indonesia via SEAX 1.
The interconnectivity SUCI will offer is anticipated to be highly conducive to the implementation of high-speed broadband services in Sarawak and attract potential Data Centre players looking at Sarawak that require connectivity diversification, and elsewhere in the region – across the island of Borneo and beyond.
PPTEL is also playing a key role in putting Sarawak on the digital map with their Sarawak International Internet Gateway (SIIG) roll out plan, enhancing both domestic and international fibre connectivity.
BaSICS (Batam Sarawak Internet Cable System) is their first private-owned submarine cable deployment, expected to be ready for service in 3Q20, and connects Sarawak to Batam, and to the vast Indonesia market. PPTEL’s Indonesia partner, XL Axiata, has extensive onward connectivity throughout Indonesia.
Terrestrial fibre, via existing cables from SEB (Sarawak Energy Bhd) will provide an alternative backup cross border route through Kalimantan, and also into Brunei, allowing onward connectivity to Hong Kong and Singapore via the SJC submarine cable system. Fast forward to 2023, and PPTEL’s new Hong Kong-Singapore consortium cable will be launched.
PPTEL will have 2 branches providing connectivity between East and West Malaysia, and to all neighbouring Southeast Asian countries. This will also allow them to offer the lowest latency route between China (North) and Indonesia (South), by-passing Singapore.
PPTEL’s Tier IV Data Centre will be operative in 4Q20, to serve the domestic Sarawak market and make Kuching as an important EDGE for Southeast Asia, China and Indonesia.
Overall, this fortification of digital infrastructure and internet connectivity will go hand-in-hand with Sarawak’s attractive features such as isolation from natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes, abundant and inexpensive renewal energy, vast natural resources, talent pool, as well as good governance which will boost Sarawak’s prospects in attracting foreign investment to the state, particularly data centres in line with the digital economy transformation aspirations as envisaged by the Sarawak government.