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Friday October 21, 2011

Puncak Semangat in talks with Govt to develop digital TV

By LEONG HUNG YEE
hungyee@thestar.com.my


KUALA LUMPUR: Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd is currently in discussion with the Government on a plan to develop the digital terrestrial television broadcasting (DTTB) project.

“We have submitted the proposal to the Government and have been engaging with it. It's an ongoing programme with the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry.

“It will be a private financing initiatives,” Puncak Semangat chairman Syed Azmin Syed Nor said after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the company, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and Kordia Ltd.

The signing ceremony was graced by New Zealand High Commissioner David Pine.

Exchanging documents: (From left) Universiti Kuala Lumpur president and CEO Prof Datuk Dr Abdul Hakim Juri, Pine, Azmin, Kordia general manager Alan Turner and Kadir at the signing ceremony.

The purpose of the MoU is to promote an understanding and later a framework that involves the transfer of skills and knowledge from New Zealand-based Kordia to UniKL through Puncak Semangat's digital broadcasting activities.

The skills-and-knowledge transfer from Kordia is to be done through Puncak Semangat's industry-based training for UniKL.

Azmin said the Government had wanted to change the current analogue system to digital but if it were to embark on the project, it would cost some RM2bil.

“Either the Government has to come up with the money or it will be a private sector-funded project.

Asked if Puncak Semangat was investing RM2bil in the project, Azmin said the digital project required a huge investment, without giving any figures.

“The cost is not only for the hardware or equipment but also networking and content. Technology is always evolving. The evolution has brought down certain costs, while some other costs have gone up too,” he added.

Azmin said that should the company manage to get the project, it would be financed by shareholders' funds, private investments and financial institutions.

The viability of the project was more important than the financial numbers, he said, adding that the MoU was the first step in the initiative as skills and knowledge would be required for the DTTB project.

Last year, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission named nine companies as recipients of the 2.6G spectrum, which is mainly reserved for 4G services.

The nine that are slated to get a 20Mhz block of the 2.6G spectrum are the four 3G players (Celcom Axiata Bhd, DiGi.Com Bhd, Maxis Bhd and U Mobile Sdn Bhd) and the five WiMAX players (Asiaspace Sdn Bhd, Packet One Network (M) Sdn Bhd, REDtone Int Bhd, YTL Communications Bhd and Puncak Semangat).

Puncak Semangat executive director Datuk Abdullah Kadir Bacha said the company had conducted 4G trials in Johor Baru in July.

“The trials were successful with 142Mbps throughput. We have also passed all the required tests,” he said, adding that the company would introduce its services to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and rural areas going forward.

“We are waiting for the spectrum. Should we get the spectrum, we will be operational in mid-2013.”

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