A longboat ride in Sarawak: giving hope to rural folk...

The rivers were long, its waters murky. Thick undergrowth and wild flora and fauna were on every corner. Children were seen running, hailing the the arrival of CMCE project engineers. A scene from a holiday visit? Not likely. In fact, this was a regular scene whenever CMCE's engineers made that arduous trip to a remote village called Bario, in the East Malaysian state of Sarawark.

CMC Engineering Sdn Bhd was entrusted to complete the commissioning of four remote terminals in Bario. The project costing RM 1.5 m was successfully commissioned in October 2000. The 'e-Bario' project, would, it was hoped, demonstrate the viability and social necessity of rural ICT in integrating rural communities into mainstream national development, so that they too can contribute to the nation's prosperity in Vision 2000.

The distance between networked devices can reach three kilometres and the system is tolerant of geographical and constructed obstacles. Tough measures were needed. Studies of the terrain was done countless times before the project team embarked upon the exercise.
Situated 1000 meters above sea level, and deep in the interior of Sarawak the remote Kelabit settlement of Bario were probably wondering how they were ever going to get connected to the Internet.

The solution? A Satellite Internet service connection via a 'VSAT', a device that is used to receive satellite transmissions. To-date, wireless networking has enabled the provision of networked computers of the various longhouse communities and government offices and school in the Bario district. CMCE's project engineers believed that the VSAT offered the best way to establish data networking in such a rural area that did not have extensive cable networks. With the installation of the devices and after extensive testing and re-testing, the project was completed. The best part? Smiles from the Bario villagers, contented and amazed with the power of technology!

Written by: Teoh Yew Aun, 

To view in pdf version:longboat ride in sarawak.pdf
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