MTIC looks to extend network coverage

Izah Azahari

The Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) has activated 983 telecommunication towers to provide extensive network coverage services, and with an allocation of BND3 million, four villages under the National Development Plan (RKN) Rural Tower Project will be covered as well.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof, during the Legislative Council session, said the villages are Kampong Sukang, Kampong Melilas and Kampong Apak-Apak in Belait District, and Kampong Long Mayan in Tutong District.

The effort to continuously upgrade the telecommunication infrastructure in the country has brought the Sultanate to second place among ASEAN member countries in the Telecommunications Infrastructure Index, according to the United Nations E-Government Survey Report 2020.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib also said that the 176 cases of cable theft from September 2019 to March 2021 need to be addressed in an integrated manner with the cooperation of several parties, including enforcement agencies and grassroots leaders, adding that “dissemination campaigns are needed to generate awareness and public cooperation in combatting it”.

Earlier, the minister shared that the initiatives implemented by the MTIC are guided by three key strategic policies that were launched last year – Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 under the Digital Economy Council as the main policy to make Brunei Darussalam a smart country while encouraging and enhancing the socio-economic growth through digital transformation; MTIC Strategic Plan (MTIC 2025) to support Brunei Vision 2035; and Road Safety Strategic Plan for Brunei Darussalam 2025 to drive safety initiatives and standards of the country’s land transport sector.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof at the Legislative Council session yesterday. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

“In line with the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025, it is based on integrated action between government agencies, industry and the general public,” said the minister. “As a foundation for digital transformation, several initiatives have been and will be implemented.”

Among the initiatives are the E-Government National Centre (EGNC) project which is the National Centralised Database (NCDB) under RKN11 with an allocated budget of BND8.9 million, which includes the National Information Hub to prepare a platform for data sharing that is safe and guaranteed; centralising funding of computer licences used by ministries that contribute to the optimal and prudent use of resources with an allocated budget of BND8.2 million under EGNC; and improving the effectiveness of government services to the public online and through mobile applications; improving internal processes through the gov.bn portal; taking advantage of mobile applications such as TransportBN which has continued to increase annually since its introduction in 2019; the launch of the new ‘Nomborku’ on February 24; and the full use of e-Office in internal document correspondence management at MTIC.

On Cyber Security Brunei (CSB), Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib said it was established to create a secure digital environment as the national cyber security agency. “Currently, CSB is actively conducting public awareness activities on best practices in cybersecurity. In 2020, 66 briefing sessions were held involving the community, including students and youth.”

On the aspects of strengthening governance in digital transformation, the minister said the MTIC is preparing two main legal frameworks: the Cyber Security Order which focusses on action in dealing with cybersecurity threats and incidents; and the Personal Data Protection Order, which aims to preserve the use, collection and disclosure of personal data by the private sector.

Towards shaping a society ready for a digital future, the minister said the ministry is looking to provide 300 locals with IT-industry skills every year, which can be achieved through collaboration with the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) through the Manpower Industry Steering Committee Working Group for the ICT Sector.

In the transportation sector, the minister said the public bus transport services will be improved through the use of technology.

He said, “Towards this end, the Public Transport Information System is working with the Land Transport Department (JPD), Authority for Info-communications Technology of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) and public bus transport companies to provide information in real time with its implementation target in the third quarter of 2021.”

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib also lauded the decreasing trend of road fatalities – 67 per cent from 2015 to 2020 – which is in line with the Brunei Darussalam National Road Safety Strategic Plan 2025 – zero road accident fatalities by 2025.

“To maintain the trend, through the National Road Safety Council (MKKJR), awareness campaigns must continue to be conducted including the Road Safety Awareness Programme in early March which featured the launch of the e-book, Understanding Your Vehicle,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the launch of the Electric Vehicle (EV) Pilot Project will be held tomorrow, the minister shared that the 5G Technology Pilot Project will also be launched in April to explore the potential of 5G technology.

Several locations have been identified to showcase the capabilities of 5G technology through use-cases that can be leveraged towards digital innovation and transformation in the country.

“Insya Allah, the projects and initiatives that support the economic growth of the country will be implemented through the allocation of regular expenses and development expenditure supported for the MTIC totalling BND143,754,979,” said the minister.