By the end of 2012, about 4000 WiFi villages will be set up nationwide as part of the Government’s initiative to bring the benefits of broadband to the citizens.According to Information, Communications and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim, at present there are only about 1,400 WiFi villages in the country and are mostly found in Perlis, Sabah, and Sarawak. “We are in the process of building electronic towers in Sabah and Sarawak, therefore our big enrolment drive to create Malaysia as an internet community is there now,” he said.
The average cost of the project for each village is about RM25,000 (USD 7,800) to RM 32,000 (USD 10,000). The villages would be provided with the normal computerising system with broadband facility which will be free of charge for the first three months, while a minimum of RM10 (USD 3) per month would be charged subsequently.
The WiFi village project is an important component in helping the Government realise its objective of becoming a high-income and high skilled nation driven by innovation and a knowledgeable society. The Government hopes that recipients of the facility will regard broadband as a necessity in their daily lives, not only as an unlimited resource to obtain useful information and as a means to connect with other people, but also in the conduct of their business and work.
The Minister added that in order to expand the use of the facility, an educational process in terms of sharing knowledge and experiences by relevant agencies are crucial to further increase the number and performance of online businesses in the country. “What is lacking is the systematic educational system to teach our young and older generation how to do business online in a manner that it is a culture with great returns besides garnering confidence,” he said.