Broadband monopoly set to be removed


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 02 Jul 2005

BY TEOH TEIK HOONG

KUALA LUMPUR: Wireless broadband users in the country can expect cheaper and faster access once the Government opens up the market to more service providers. 

The public can expect to enjoy rentals possibly as low as RM45 per month for unlimited broadband access, when more service providers are allowed to enter the market, which is currently under monopoly, according to Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik. 

“We are 10 years behind in the information communications technology (ICT) sector although we introduced the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) which seeks to merge telephone, Internet and broadcast. 

“We have not moved since. There is a need to increase the present broadband use of 1%, which is politically and socially unacceptable,” he said. 

Lim said only 1% of five million households had access to broadband currently, which his ministry plans to push up to at least 30% in three years’ time. 

“We can’t wait for the existing telcos to deploy land lines for access. 

“Forget about land lines, let’s go wireless, which will benefit the users in the long term.” 

He said there was a need to “un-bundle the loop” held by the four companies that monopolise trunk and last mile lines so as to open up and widen access to broadband. 

“They will resist as they hold the monopoly but this will come eventually. 

“A blueprint is being prepared by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to improve the infrastructure needs, and also identify services which can cater to new growth areas,” he said, after witnessing the signing ceremony between Arbital Communications Sdn Bhd and Retel (from Croatia) to deploy a wireless broadband network in Croatia. 

The MCMC, which is chaired by Datuk V. Danapalan, will present the blueprint, which is expected to concentrate on identifying eight services, eight infrastructures and six growth areas. 

“In a few months’ time, we will announce how we are going to promote ICT in the country. 

“The MCMC will be setting up a research and development unit to look into the best ways to manage the wireless spectrum (bandwidth) being utilised, such as for television, radio, mobile phones, microwave ovens and broadband,” Lim said. 

He said there was a need to build a Malaysian standard to fully utilise, and at the same time manage, the various spectrums available. 

On Arbital’s bid to obtain a licence to provide its wireless broadband facilities commercially, Lim said the company had been given a bandwidth to try out, and if “it can convince us it can do what it says it can, we will agree to it.” 

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