In two weeks’ time, Penangites will be able to test-drive the WiMAX and free WiFi services at several pilot sites.
In addition, the Penang state government will be organising seminars and workshops to enable local content developers to access content development grants, and to publish their multimedia works via [email protected]
Starting January 21, a series of “Experiencing [email protected]” promotions will be held at select locations in the island and Seberang Prai to provide a new user experience for Internet citizens in the state.
“These test-drive exercise comes in only three months after the pilot launch of the [email protected] project in October last year,” said Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang.
“Penang wants to score another first,” Lim added. “The promotions are held in conjunction with the New Year to signal the big leap that Penang takes to usher in a new experience in wireless broadband unrivalled throughout the country.”
During the test-drive promotions, service provider RedTone-Hotgate Consortium will set up experience booths at three pilot sites, featuring free WiFi and free phone-calls over Internet using the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) platform.
The free WiFi experience booths will be located at Komtar, the Queensbay Mall and Bukit Jambul Complex from January 21 to 23. New users will be given assistance in signing up for the free service.
Besides, each site will be supported by integrated networks comprising at least ten hotspots to provide seamless Internet access.
On the other hand, WiMAX operator Packet One Networks (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd will set up booths at Penang and Seberang Prai from January 21 to 23, to allow its pre-registered customers and the public to have a first-hand experience in its high-speed wireless broadband.
So far, Packet One has over 4,000 pre-registered users in Penang who are anxiously waiting for the service to be made available.
The WiMAX trial run service will be available at five sites covering a major part of George Town, including Komtar, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, Lebuh Macallum/Magazine Road, Gottlieb Road, and Perak Road/Burma Road bordering upper Jelutong.
Another two WiMAX trial run sites are being installed in Bukit Tengah and Bukit Mertajam.
Recently, the state government has approved an application by Packet One, made through the state-owned one-stop agency PDC Telecommunications Services, to implement a six-month trial run at six strategic locations.
The approval came with a condition that the service provider must fulfil stringent regulatory requirements during the trial run. The installations will become permanent once all test benchmarks and requirements are fulfilled.
Meanwhile, Packet One is also in the midst of applying for additional seven sites to be included in the trial run schedule by the end of March.
Packet One has planned for a total of 28 sites, each supporting about 2,000 users, which will cover about 70% of Penang over a 24-month period.
The [email protected] project was launched in October last year, signifying a bold initiative by the Pakatan Rakyat government to make the entire state connected through wireless broadband.
While the WiFi service is provided free at public areas, the higher-speed WiMAX will be charged at affordable price.
Significantly, the [email protected] broadband service will be rolled out without incurring any capital investment and operating expenditure on the state government.
The service is designed to complement Penang as the choice location for investments, the ideal location for tourism, and top-of-mind place for modern living.
The Penang state has also adopted a 3Cs concept in the [email protected] project, which comprises Connectivity, Community and Content.
While better Internet connectivity will foster a well-knitted community of broadband users, it is anticipated that the state will reach the economic of scale where new applications, new digital solutions and Penang’s local content can be integrated for public benefits.
Meanwhile, the state government is making efforts to enable local content developers to access content development grants that may help propagate [email protected] to greater heights.
“The effort is aimed at simulating the development of local content that can be distributed through the Internet and mobile telecommunication services,” the Chief Minister said.
“We are currently negotiating with several parties to match-make local content developers with the grant providers, so that Penang becomes a key hub for digital content development” Lim added.
A series of workshops and seminars on the content development fund will be held in March, which is also the target date for the mega-launch of [email protected] with a wider footprint for service coverage.