Content, applications are why M'sians chose cheaper Internet, says MCMC

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  • Thursday, 01 Oct 2015

PETALING JAYA: Lack of compelling content and online applications could be why Malaysians chose slower and cheaper Internet packages, said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

It said 71% of Streamyx customers subscribe to broadband packages at speeds of 1Mbps or less although higher-speed broadband packages are available.

But it was not necessarily an indication that Malaysians prefer slower broadband connections, it said.

"The lack of compelling content and online applications may be a contributing factor. It is therefore also equally important to ensure widespread availability of digital services in various areas such as education, health and online payment platforms to drive demand for high speed broadband.

"With more demand, service providers will have commercial reasons to improve their infrastructure and lower their prices," said the MCMC.

The Commission said that it is also undertaking measures with the cooperation of industry to make high speed broadband more affordable.

"For example, the latest package introduced into the market offers speeds of 30Mbps (plus 8Mbps for Internet TV) at the price of RM199, which translates to RM5.25 per Mbps," it said.

It added that improving broadband coverage, affordability and speed for Malaysia are priorities for the  the Commission, saying that according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), broadband can be considered affordable when the price is at or below 5% of the average monthly income.

The MCMC said that Malaysia’s fixed broadband price as a percentage of Gross National Income is at 2.42% as at 2014 according to the ITU.

"On MCMC’s part, focus will be on ensuring that Malaysians have access to broadband at the right speed and price points.

"In line with targets set out in the 11th Malaysia Plan for ICT infrastructure, MCMC expects to achieve 95% broadband coverage in populated areas and improved speeds (100 Mbps in urban areas and 50% of suburban areas having 20 Mbps) by 2020."

The MCMC added that approximately  RM20bil is expected to be invested by both industry and the MCMC in the next few years to achieve these goals.

"Efforts on this have already started this year, such as the deployment of the High Speed Broadband Project Phase 2 and Suburban Broadband Project.

"These initiatives are expected to provide high speed broadband access to 450,000 premises in state capital cities and 750,000 premises in suburban areas, in addition to the 2.5 million premises covered currently."

The Commission added that as of Quarter 1 of 2015, 3G coverage for the country was at 86% of populated areas, while for 4G, the coverage was at 38.3%. Streamyx is available to 78% of households in Malaysia while broadband over fibre covers 35% of households.

This statement by the MCMC follows from a three-way dispute between Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang and former Cabinet Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz over internet connection speeds in Malaysia.

On Tuesday, Rafidah challenged a statement by Salleh, in which she put up a Facebook post questioning whether Malaysians really preferred slower broadband packages.

Salleh had earlier responded to a blog post by Lim who pointed out that the issue was that high Internet speeds in Malaysia were too costly when compared to other countries, adding that it was Salleh's task as Minister to make them affordable.

Salleh had maintained that  the focus of Internet services in Malaysia is on speed, coverage and affordability.

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