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May 9, 2023

Ongoing Infrastructure Projects to Expand Internet Access in Southeast Asia

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May 9, 2023

In the past month, there have been significant developments in the region on a range of efforts to increase access to high-speed Internet, focusing on infrastructure development for communities in underserved areas.  

Telekom Malaysia has completed the first phase of installing a new fiber optic hub that spans across the northern regions of Sabah and Sarawak. Under the Twelfth Malaysia Plan, Malaysia seeks 4,370 new points of presence (PoPs) by 2025, with over 98 percent of the new PoPs to be installed near rural schools. The fiber optic hubs enable subscribers to have faster services and be less reliant on mobile internet. The first phase of the project included the construction of 677 new sites. During the second phase, Telekom Malaysia is expected to complete the construction of the remaining sites over a span of three years. 

The Philippines’ longest domestic subsea cable is set to soon be completed after reaching Zamboanga City at the end of March, one of the subsea cable’s last sites. The Philippine Domestic Submarine Cable Network (PDSCN) spans 2,500 kilometers and has 33 landing points, including sites in Bacolod City, Iloilo City, Lucena City, and Roxas City. The US$150 million project began in July 2022, seeking to extend fiber connectivity to many underserved areas and link key cities and tourist hubs. According to Philippine telecommunications company Global Telecom Inc., the firm is seeking to activate the subsea cable by the end of April.   

Thailand’s National Digital Economy and Society Commission (ONDE) has approved the Community Internet Service initiative. The initiative aims to provide public internet services, maintain community internet networks, and expand high-speed internet by providing high-speed Wi-Fi services to 24,654 communities. The project focuses on expanding Wi-Fi access in schools, hospitals, and public locations to support local communities and low-income earners. The project seeks to be completed within three years.

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