Fixed broadband prices likely to drop by 25% by year end, says Gobind

PUTRAJAYA: Fixed broadband prices are expected to drop by at least 25% by year end in a move by the Pakatan Harapan government to fulfil its election manifesto pledge.

This anticipated reduction is due to the Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP) which came into force on June 8.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said the implementation was backdated to Jan 1, 2018.

“The relevant parties are currently in commercial discussions to finalise the wholesale prices. The process is scheduled to be concluded in July or August, after which new, lower price broadband packages are expected to be rolled out to consumers,” he told reporters here yesterday.

The MSAP sets ceiling wholesale prices that can be charged by service providers.

Lowering wholesale prices under MSAP should translate to lower retail prices for consumers, said Gobind.

He added that the Malaysian Communi­cations and Multimedia Commis­sion (MCMC) had done a year-long review of the MSAP last year, and the reduced prices should have taken effect in January this year.

“However, this did not happen as Telekom Malaysia had appealed to MCMC to reconsider some of the pricing and the implementation was then put on hold pending the Minister’s consideration.

“Upon my appointment, I decided that this must be done in line with Pakatan Harapan’s promise to reduce broadband prices and increase its speed,” he said.

Asked if the backdated implementation of the revised prices would mean that consumers can expect rebates for the payments made since January, Gobind simply said “anything is possible”.

The Minister also said the Government was considering recognising access to the Internet as a basic human right in Malaysia, even to the extent of, if practicable, a constitutional right.

He added that the MCMC has been instruc­ted to consider other options to further reduce broadband prices to get more affordable entry-level packages for Malaysians.

Meanwhile, on a separate issue, Gobind also said the ministry will conduct an independent audit on two funds under the supervision of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

The two funds are the MCMC fund and the Universal Service Provision (USP) fund.

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