TNB, TM abort joint Nationwide Fiberisation Plan

  • Business
  • Tuesday, 24 Jul 2018

Getting out: TM said both it and TNB have mutually agreed to discontinue the NFP project. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) have aborted a joint effort to roll out high-speed broadband (HSBB) Internet services to rural areas.

In separate filings with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, the two government-linked companies (GLCs) said they would not proceed with the proposed joint proposal to deliver the Nationwide Fiberisation Plan (NFP).

Both companies had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Jan 16 to explore the implementation of the project.

“The discontinuation of the MoU does not preclude TNB and TM from considering other collaborations should there be future business opportunities that are beneficial to both parties,” TNB said.

The NFP is a project announced in March 2017 by the previous government with the target of doubling the speed of fixed broadband and expanding the network reach into rural areas by leveraging on TNB’s extensive fibre trunk network.

It was reported that the “last-mile” fiberisation plan could cost some RM10bil.

“TM wishes to announce that both TM and TNB have mutually agreed to discontinue the above MoU with immediate effect,” TM said.

The MoU between both TNB and TM earlier this year came soon after Broadnet Networks Sdn Bhd was named by the government to undertake the NFP, by teaming up with TNB to roll out an extensive broadband network that would capitalise on the latter’s electrical cables reaching homes across the country.

TNB has about 12,000km of fibre optic cables and its power lines are connected to 9.2 million customers in the country.

Based on earlier news reports, it was said that the government would take a golden share in Broadnet, led by some high-profile corporate chiefs and civil servants.

Many saw Broadnet’s involvement in the NFP to undertake broadband infrastructure deployment as a threat to TM, which has been entrusted with the rollout of the country’s HSBB infrastructure since 2008.

Previously known as Nasmudi Sdn Bhd, Broadnet was the same company that in 2003 made the audacious attempt to buy out the Employees Provident Fund’s minority stake in KFC Holdings (M) Bhd.

That deal didn’t pan out and Nasmudi faded from the public eye.

The tie-up between TNB and TM - which are both GLCs - to undertake the NFP had surprised market observers and raised monopolistic concerns in the broadband arena.

TNB was down four sen or 0.27% to RM14.78, with some 3.12 million shares being done as trade closed yesterday.

Meanwhile, TM rose four sen or 1.05% to RM3.85. A total of 6.38 million shares changed hands.

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