Malaysia Broadband: A Harsh Reality

It is not a surprise to know that according to a study conducted by Oxford’s Said Business School, the Malaysia’s broadband quality is below par. The study also listed Malaysia among countries which had Internet speeds which were “below today’s applications threshold.”

A similar study conducted last year established that in order to meet the requirement for today’s application, the download speeds of 3.75 Mbps and upload of 1 Mbps was the minimum quality. With such speed, applications such as the social networking, video steaming, video chatting and file sharing can be operate at optimum condition.

Data gathered from speedtest.net showed that Malaysia download speed is only 1.95Mb/s and the upload speed is 0.57Mb/s. In reality, most Malaysian still use with the speeds of 1 Mbps or less. The clearly indicate that the speed of broadband in Malaysia is not up to par for today’s application.

Based on the study, the broadband penetration rate in Malaysia is only 30%. The broadband penetration in Malaysia is concentrated at the urban area. Majority of the household that have broadband internet access is middle class. The rural area is often left out in the broadband development and there is lacked of effort to wire up the whole country. The lack of affordability for the public also contributes to this phenomenon.

The Internet is a powerful tool for communication and it has changed the way people communicate. Previously, email is a popular way of communication. However, with higher bandwidth available to the users and new innovative products coming out, people are able to communicate via video conference using program like Skype and Window Messenger. This also illustrates that a higher speed is required for broadband in Malaysia to meet the demand of today’s application.

The Internet has revolutionized many aspects in our society, for example the Internet brings visible economic, social and cultural benefits to nations. Not only that, the internet also brings different ideology into the society and either directly or indirectly has revolutionized the social values and political ideology in Malaysia. Research has revealed that the internet has greatly affected information access, education, entertainment, and productivity growth.

Malaysia recognize the impact bring by the development of internet. Therefore, in the year of 1996, Malaysia has taken the initiative to form the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) for the communication technology industry. The aim is to transform Malaysia into a knowledge based economy and to leapfrog Malaysia into the information and knowledge age. After 13 years, our telecommunication industry didn’t progress as what we aimed even they were awarded with MSC status company. Worse, these companies failed to deliver the service promised to the consumers. In other word, the demands of consumers are not fulfilled. What do MSC mean to Malaysian when the broadband household penetration rate is only 30% and mediocre broadband service?

There is many Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Malaysia, however those ISP still faces restriction on their expansion especially for wired broadband. This is due to Telekom Malaysia’s ownership of the nation’s last mile connections restricts competition to densely populated areas in major cities. Last mile is the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer. Since there is no local loop unbundling, TMnet enjoys a virtual monopoly of the broadband market (Wikipedia). The service provided by TMnet didn’t improve over the years because there is lack of competition in this industry.

Recently, Singapore, China and Australia have announced massive initiatives to wire up their countries with fibre optics. With such fibre optic technology, it is able to deliver broadband speeds of up to 100 megabits per second. Report from Australia said that The Australian government would create a publicly owned company to build a national high-speed broadband network worth $31 billion, in one of the largest state-sponsored Internet infrastructure upgrades in the world.

While for Malaysia, Telekom Malaysia Bhd is moving to provide 100 megabits per second (Mbps) access to the home through the use of fibre optic connections and the electrical wiring. According to TM Malaysia Business CEO Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa, it may take two to three years before the service becomes widely available.

Malaysia consumers can only hope that the broadband service provided is up to the promise and the internet service providers are able to meet the demand of consumers. Hopefully the broadband is affordable so that every house hold is able to own them.

Ryan Gan

Secretary of International Affair (DEMA)

3rd Year Chemical Engineering Student, UPM.

One thought on “Malaysia Broadband: A Harsh Reality

  1. Holy cow! Its incredible what you able to do with a fast internet connection.

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