Some MYR2.8 billion (USD842.2 million) of Malaysia’s Universal Service Provision (USP) fund will be spent on a number of National Broadband Initiative (NBI) programmes that are currently being prepared, Bernama reports. As of March 2010 the USP fund totalled MYR4.5 billion, of which MYR1.7 billion has already been earmarked for the construction of 447 telecoms towers, of which two-thirds will be located in Sabah and Sarawak. Under existing legislation all of Malaysia’s licensed telecoms operators, barring Content Applications Service Provider (CASP) licence holders, contributed 6% of their weighted net revenue to the USP fund last year.
As part of its NBI, Malaysia is committed to achieving a broadband penetration level of 50% by the end of 2010. Commenting on the plans for the investment, Tan Sri Khalid Ramli, chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), said: ‘We have already set our target for urban, outskirt and rural penetration and this involves various technologies. In terms of rural broadband penetration, both the government and the private sector should assume an important role.’ Khalid also revealed that more details of specific NBI programmes will be announced by the Malaysian prime minister on 24 March 2010.