Speech by YAB Mr Lim Guan Eng at Wireless@Penang Free WiFi Test-Drive with RedTone-Hotgate:
Wireless@Penang has arrived! Two days ago, we had a successful test-drive of WiMAX by Packet One Networks (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd. We invited members of the Press to personally experience the fast-speed wireless broadband on WiMAX. I could see the sparkles on the eyes of many journalists, they were amazed at the speed YouTube videos were being downloaded through WiMAX – no more slow buffering, no more broken audios. Speed was the name of the game.
Of course to get WiMAX speed, there is a cost to it and the service provider has promised to keep the price affordable for everyone but many times faster than your regular home Internet.
Today, we are here to see for ourselves, and to feel for ourselves the many possibilities that will come about with Wireless@Penang – to test-drive the second component that is Penang Free WiFi by the RedTone-Hotgate Consortium.
This is the start of the first batch of three locations for Penang Free WiFi coverage – in Komtar, Bukit Jambul Complex and soon at the Queensbay Mall. I was made to understand RedTone-Hotgate Consortium will launch another batch of seven locations in the next few months. Each location will comprise at least 10 hotspots, with a total of 750 hotspots to come alive within the next 18 months, covering at least about 90% of Penang and Seberang Perai.
Indeed, we are very pleased with the progress of the WiMAX@Penang project. By showcasing WiMAX and Penang Free WiFi, we hope to educate people about the true benefits that the wide availability of wireless broadband will bring to them, and to Penang state as a whole. In the constant strive to elevate Penang’s status as an international hub for business and tourism, having quality broadband infrastructure, equal access to information via Internet and giving people the ability to participate in the emerging Malaysian cyberspace, is THE key to be the Number One in info-highways in the region, if not the world. And we are certain to make it happen!
To be frank, the Wireless@Penang project was delayed by three months as we spent time and patience listening to the feedback given by certain groups of people, which do not want Wireless@Penang.
We consulted our experts at Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the National Nuclear Agency, who in due course consulted World Health Organisation and the Independent Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). We even got MCMC to dispatch a special equipment from Germany, used as a standard and benchmark by the regulatory bodies in most countries, to conduct frequency and radiation readings at various spots that the NGOs said were harmful to human beings.
We read from the papers that the NGOs had brought in a so-called radiation expert from Germany who proclaimed in the newspapers that radiation detected at SJKC Shang Wu had exceeded permissible level by 150%!
We can’t believe it! In actual fact, we asked specialists from MCMC, our own PDC Telco Services and the licensed service providers to listen to what the so-called German expert had told Penang people in his seminars, recorded his talks and analysed his talking points and content. We then dispatched a technical team from MCMC and coordinated by YB Jeff Ooi, to go back to SJKC Shang Wu to take the first round of readings using various parameters and distances from visible emission points of radiation. Yesterday, we did the same process again but under the watchful eyes of our journalists and reporters. We used the highest level equipments that costs over RM120,000, applied various parameters to prevent distorted and biased readings, and world-proven methodology for the entire process. We then allow our reporters to download the results into their thumb-drives ON THE SPOT without any human interference.
The results obtained in those two rounds of readings at SJKC Shang Wu were consistent on all parameters, and they showed that the margin-of-error for the so-called German expert brought in by the NGOs was INACCURATE by more than 1.4 MILLION times!
Today, as we test-drive Penang Free WiFi, I can assure you we are well aware of what science, and reports from WHO and ICNIRP had assured us, that WiFi is not found to be harmful to us. If WiFi is harmful, there are two persons in Penang who will be the first to get fried by radiation, that’s myself and Jeff Ooi. For your information, we work at least 10 to 12 hours per day in Komtar, and on our 28th floor, there are not one but FOUR WiFi hotspots or access points pointing at us. We had exposed ourselves to WiFi in our homes, and we get four times more exposure in Komtar. Now you tell me, if we are still alright as your leaders?
The fast roll-out of Wireless@Penang came about because the Penang state government understands good governance and business certainty. From the governance stand point, we will not compromise on all the regulatory requirements when it comes to adherence to public safety and international technical benchmarks, as well as all mandatory requirements set by the authorities. However, we also recognized the fact that WiFi is now an internationally recognized wireless platform that has passed all stringent technical standards, implementation and monitoring of standards compliance can be done systematically and professionally.
After various rounds of consultation with industry experts, the state government had made a decision to give an exemption for the submission of planning applications for the WiMAX and WiFi infrastructure subject to two conditions, that ( 1 ) A 2-week notice must be filed with the local authorities before the installation of each infrastructure, and the equipments can be installed if there is no objection forthcoming from the local authorities; ( 2 ) the service providers shall undertake to comply with all documentation and regulatory requirements within a specific period of time after each installation to make it permanent.
With this decision, we managed to cut down the processing time by 6 to 10 months and at the same time WITHOUT compromising all conditions stipulated by industry practice and regulatory authorities.
As you all are fully aware, the Penang state government has declared our intention to be the first state in Malaysia to eradicate hardcore poverty. And last Saturday, we have just announced that the private sectors and the state government have decided to join hand in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to raise funds through the Rakan Anti Kemiskinan (RAK) programs to help the hardcore poor, and to elevate their social economic status to be on par with those who are materially rich and info-rich. In this sense, the conquest of information and knowledge plays a very important part in personal upgrading.
By offering wireless access through WiFi and WiMAX, we want to extend Internet, which is basically the fountain of knowledge in modern days, to a wider audience, including this group of needy and less privileged segment of the society. Internet access should not be something reserved for those who are economically better off – since the Internet provides knowledge, we are provisioning it in order to improve themselves socially and economically.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Wireless@Penang is no longer a dream. It is happening, step-by-step. I just want to make my speech today short and concise, so that you all can test-drive Penang Free WiFi by yourselves, and spread the news around. Penang is the Number One state for wireless broadband.
Thank you very much.