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Connecting schools in Malaysia’s Bera district

Malaysia’s Bera district is only a three-hour drive from the glistening towers of Kuala Lumpur’s central district, but it might as well be in a different world. Many of the people there are small farm owners and fishermen. Residents mostly live in simple wooden homes that until recently, did not enjoy network coverage.

“It was hard for the children to study without the Internet,” recalls Jaibidin Bin Rudin, a local villager. 

Bera is a world away from Kuala Lumpur’s central district


That changed in the summer of 2022. Together with its Malaysian partner, the network operator Celcom, deployed RuralStar Pro in Bera to provide 4G connectivity to the school and to residents of the area. Now, students at the 38 primary and 10 secondary schools in the area can be taught using the same ICT tools that are in vogue in Malaysia’s major cities. They are no longer behind in terms of technology.

Already, kids are starting to dream and set new goals. Jerry Alfido, a young student, says he wants to visit the beautiful cities all around the world that he can see on the Internet. “I want to be a pilot,” he says.

School kid Jerry Alfido: “I want to be a pilot.”

If anything, older residents are more enthralled by their new connectivity than the kids. “Some of the residents called me saying that they were so excited that they could browse the Internet, they had sleepless nights,” says Johari bin Salam, headman of the Bera village of Bukit Gemuruh.

The RuralStar Pro systems installed in Bera are modular and can be powered by solar energy, explains Zulkifli bin Mohamed Nor, Huawei regional project manager. “With this technology, the government’s aspiration to deploy telecommunications services to the rural areas can be achieved faster,” he says.

RuralStar Pro installed near a school

Huawei has developed a wide range of products, technologies, and knowhow to provide connectivity for the tens of millions of people around the world who are still unconnected. This includes low-cost antennas; solar power, batteries, and energy-management systems; and a vast range of microwave links that can reach isolated communities.

Huawei and Celcom worked together

The solutions can be basic and highly affordable, or more sophisticated, depending on local needs. Huawei’s highly economical RuralStar solution represents a complete rethink of base station design. RuralStar is made up of robust but simple telecommunications components. The kit requires so little energy to operate that a few solar panels are enough. More complex “Butterfly Sites” are set up on taller antenna poles. They typically can provide network coverage over several frequency bands and can serve a wider territory because of their height.

See how RuralStar Pro impacted Bera below. For more details about Huawei's mission to Connect the Unconnected, see our event held on 23 Nov. 2022 Sustainability event Connectivity+: Innovate for Impact where thought leaders on connectivity explained the benefits of being connected and how to provide network access to the many people who still lack it.