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Digital gap between rural and urban

Five years have passed and only 40,000 individual phone lines and 2,500 payphones have been installed in under-served areas in Malaysia funded by the Universal Service Provision (USP) Fund.

The latest fund size is not known but as at end-September 2006, it was a whopping RM2bil. So much money and yet so few lines. Many people in the under-served areas are still without basic telephony access. This is despite the fact that Malaysia is marching towards becoming a developed nation in just over a decade.

Now even broadband connectivity in rural areas is going to be funded via the USP Fund. The regulations are being fine-tuned. Earlier, the fund was supposed to finance just basic telephony services and Internet connectivity.

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