Yesterday, TM has revealed that the company is given the rights by the government through an open tender process to build a new domestic submarine cable network that is called Sistem Kabel Rakyat 1Malaysia or SKR1M. The interesting acronym aside, the project will be covering both sides of Malaysia and is apparently aimed to provide improvement on the Internet connectivity in the country.
Curious to know more? Read on below to briefly learn what SKR1M is all about.
First and foremost, the project was first mentioned by PM Najib Razak during his Bajet 2014 speech on 23 October 2013 (shown below) in the form of a new submarine cable system that is aimed to improve Internet connectivity in Sabah and Sarawak. At that time, the project has yet to receive the SKR1M moniker which is the reason why many of us might have missed its existence in the first place.
It has four major purposes, according to MCMC:
1 – To improve national broadband connectivity within Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak
2 – To improve the Internet speed, reliability and to consistently deliver high speed capacity;
3 – To provide resiliency via complete redundancy network
4 – To promote efficiency and affordability for use of Internet for the people.
Specifically though, SKR1M will essentially become the primary backbone link between major cities in West and East Malaysia. Said to be build using the latest 100Gbps Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing technology, the fiber-optic network will initially has a capacity of 4Tbps which can then be upgraded to 12.8Tbps later on.
The network itself will feature five clusters that start from Mersing in Johor which then will connect to Kuching in Sarawak before the link continues to Bintulu, Miri, and Kota Kinabalu before crossing over the South China Sea again to Cherating in Pahang. In total, SKR1M will cover a total distance of 3,500 km.
SKR1M will apparently be financed through a concept called Public and Private Partnership which generally means that the funding will come from both government and private entity which in this project is TM. It is not a new concept though as it also being used for the country’s High Speed Broadband project which is also another project that involved TM.
Being the chosen company that will be in charge of SKR1M, TM’s responsibility (shown above) is not limited to the deployment of the physical cable but also building six submarine cable landing stations for the project. In addition to that, TM will be operating and maintaining the network for “up to 20 years” which is the required life span as specified by MCMC.
As for the cost of the project, TM somehow didn’t mention it in yesterday’s announcement although PM Najib Razak has stated RM 850 million as the cost of the project in his Bajet 2014 speech. Another source has also stated that the project is worth around RM 720 million with TM is expected to contribute between RM 200 to RM 300 million into it.
Before you get excited about having better Internet quality in your home though, do note that SKR1M is expected to be fully functional only in 2017. All in all, it is going to be a while before users will able to see the impact of SKR1M if everything actually goes well.