The government, in collaboration with the private sector, will implement the North Sabah Digital Corridor project to improve the high-speed broadband infrastructure in northern Sabah at a cost of RM100 million.
"This project will include the installation of fibre lines from Kudat until Tuaran, which also supports the Nationwide Fiberisation Plan that I have announced in 2017," said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.
Also present were Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission Chairman Tan Sri Dr Halim Shafie, Putrajaya Corporation President Datuk Seri Hasim Ismail, Tempasuk and Kadamaian assemblymen Datuk Musbah Jamli and Ukoh @ Jeremy Malajad, as well as Kota Belud District Officer Abdul Gari Itam.
Salleh said the fibre network under the plan would link premises in northern Sabah involving urban, suburban and remote areas to enable the entire population to benefit from the digital economy equally.
Dr Halim said in order to make the area from Kudat to Tuaran as a digital area, fibre broadband infrastructure would be required, but the implementation date was still in the pipeline.
"Fibre broadband infrastructure is required because it will give speed to the internet.
If we also want the internet to be cheaper, the fibre infrastructure needs to be there," he said.
Meanwhile, the district would become the first smart district in Sabah through the Smart Community 2.0 initiative.
Salleh said the initiative had entered its third year of implementation.
"Additional allocation of RM20 million will be used to improve some of the key programmes such as creating a smart security solution initiative with the collaboration of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) Kota Belud.
"It will also have improved existing Saifon system as well as enhancing better communication access in Kota Belud through the provision of fixed and wireless cordless broadband access.
"In addition, a flood planning centre equipped with digital capabilities or Digital Hall will also be created as a facility that provides Internet and ICT access facilities for the benefit of the public," he said.
Salleh said the communications infrastructure under the Kota Belud Smart Community would involve a new technology known as 'Wireless To The Home' (WTTx).
"This service helps increase high-speed Internet access at residential premises using 20Mbps wireless broadband wireless technology up to 40Mbps," he added.
For the record, Kota Belud area now gets 90 percent of 3G coverage area and 100 percent LTE or 4G coverage.
Apart from that, a total of six 1Malaysia Internet Centres (PI1Ms) were built for the convenience of the district's community accessing the internet.