UiTM Is Receiving 10 Starlink Kits, But Why?

UiTM Is Receiving 10 Starlink Kits, But Why?

Recently, the Malaysian government managed to strike a deal with one of the richest men in the world, Elon Musk, to bring the services of Starlink in Malaysia. One of the earliest beneficiaries of this deal was Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil announced that UiTM will receive 10 Starlink Kits to help them combat their longstanding internet issues.

“When the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) mentioned solving the Internet problem using Starlink, I believe that for UiTM, there are a few campuses that can benefit from it, especially at the campus in Kuala Pilah, Perak, Tawau and Sarawak,” said Fahmi Fadzil.

It may come as a surprise to some, but UiTM currently runs on it’s own internet service known as MyRen. This ISP specialises in providing internet access for education and research purposes, and provides internet access to UNIMAS, UniMAP, University of Southampton Malaysia, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia among others.

MyRen was first established under the governance of the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) back in 2005, with the main aim of providing high speed internet access to the education sector while also providing necessary tools for the expansion of research capabilities.

Since its inception, MyRen has established a community-managed network which connects over 800,000 researchers, academicians, and students.

Which is why questions have been raised by several people about why the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is giving 10 Starlink kits to UiTM campuses.

Although some might point out that under the current internet service, UiTM students have always been plagued by internet issues such as slow internet speeds, and connectivity issues, especially in rural areas, this can be solved in other ways, such as a massive overhaul and upgrade of the existing infrastructure.

Some people have called out the redundancy of granting satellite internet access to places that have already been covered by a high-speed fibre broadband network, and questions have also popped up regarding the billions of ringgit allocated on initiatives and programs to improve connectivity in rural areas.

One such initiative is the JENDELA initiative, which was launched in 2020 by then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Muhyiddin Yassin. Phase one of the JENDELA initiative has recently concluded, with reports saying that the initiative has increased fibre enabled premises from 4.96 million in Q3 2020 to 7.74 million in Q4 2022.

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