The best way to get your home online is definitely with Fibre broadband. For those who are not covered, the next best alternative would be 4G broadband. Unfortunately, some people don’t have access to these two options. For these underserved population, they don’t have much choice except for ADSL services like Streamyx or slower 3G/2G connectivity.
Now it appears there’s a new player in town and it promises to provide 100% coverage throughout Malaysia. This means every home can enjoy faster speeds where Fibre and 4G aren’t available.
Maxis is currently having a promo for its all-in-one MaxisONE Prime offering. It was launched last month with a starting price of RM367/month and it gives you true unlimited high-speed data for both the home and while on the go.
As part of its Year End Sale promo, Maxis is offering a free speed upgrade where you can get 50Mbps at the price of a 30Mbps plan.
While Najib is proud of cheap kangkung the rest of you may be more interested to know that apparently Malaysia has the most affordable internet in the world (or at least among emerging and developing countries).
This may be harder to swallow than a bunch of uncooked water spinach to some but in the Affordability Report 2013, an independent study done by the Alliance for Affordable Internet, Malaysia tops the list among 46 emerging and developing countries including China, Brazil, Turkey and Hungary in terms of affordable internet.
Published on December 8, last year, the report presents an ‘Affordability Index’, which ranks nations across communications infrastructure and access and affordability indicators fundamental to achieving affordable Internet. The study also explores key barriers to affordable internet.
While many Malaysians lament that internet in Malaysia is still expensive compared to developed countries like Singapore and Korea, the study finds that Malaysia is on the right track noting that Government initiatives such as Public-Private Partnerships to expand broadband infrastructure and making basic internet access and equipment affordable for the low-income bracket through subsidies are bearing fruit. According to MCMC, four out of five Malaysians now have access to 3G.
This is a stark contrast to developing countries where people are living on less than US$2/day. In these countries, the report noted, entry-level broadband costs an average of 40% of monthly income and most cases basic internet exceeds 80% or 100%. As a result, billions cannot afford to get online, entrenching the digital divide and constraining economic and social progress.
Sonia Jorge, executive director of A4AI commented:
“Countries such as Malaysia, Brazil or Morocco, which top our Affordability Index, show how rapid progress can be made when innovative technologies are twinned with an enabling, forward-looking policy and regulatory environment which stimulates supply as well as demand. A4AI is committed to working hand-in-hand with countries to help drive down the cost of broadband.”
So what do you think? Feeling the good vibe? Internet in Malaysia may not be as cheap as some might like but it is certainly affordable and readily available compared to many countries even the developing ones. At the very least speeds have increased while prices have remained fairly constant and it’s certainly good that most local operators are not as restrictive with data quotas and usages as they can be. Let’s hope some things remain the same while other continue to improve
You can download the full report here.
Business Times reports that the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture (KPKK) has setup what it calls a Broadband Action Brigade that will comprise of representatives from the ministry, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and local telcos to identify and fix broadband problems faced by individual consumers or firms.
The report says the brigade is a part of the Government’s initiative to boost Internet accessibility in the country, enhance broadband speeds, cut subscription fees and meet the Government’s targeted 50%household broadband penetration by year end. That’s a mighty big ask for the three month old brigade that’s currently being headed by the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Kamaruddin Siaraf. Right now the brigade meets every week to resolve broadband problems.
At the same time, KPKK has just launched a six-month long broadband awareness program to disseminate information on the benefits of broadband to the public, especially the rural areas to get more Malaysians to jump on the broadband bandwagon. We have to say, the program has a very catchy slogan though – “Get Broadband, Get Everything“.
On top of that Rais said that we can look forward to more affordable broadband fee as the the ministry is currently finalising its study on the subscription fees charged by various telcos to make them more affordable.
The report ended with Rais saying “It will be ready soon. It is not possible for us to standardise the charge by telcos, but we can make sure that it is affordable,”.
The PACIK is not going to like this one bit.
But seriously, ss cheap broadband really the answer to boost penetration? We’re still skeptical.
BERNAMA reports that the Government is looking into the possibility of reducing broadband access fee nationwide to ensure that the people, especially those in the rural areas, can afford to use broadband.
Speaking at the sixth Ministerial Forum on Information, Communication and Technology, our minister of Information, Communication and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said Internet services in Malaysia can be cheaper. Rais compared local brodband prices with Singapore where broadband providers there can offer 2Mbps line for the equivalent of RM20. Here, the same speed is offers at a hefty RM130 – RM199. Rais said that local operators should look at how other countries within the region, like Korea, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand set broadband prices.
With all due respect to the minister, we don’t think broadband prices are hampering progress of broadband subscription instead it is a matter of priorities. For the majority, broadband can be free in Malaysia for all they care but the reality is they will never use it.