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.
This new provider is called CONNECTme and it is expected to launch on 8 March this year. Unlike your typical broadband provider, CONNECTme uses satellite for access which allows you to stay connected nationwide, provided there’s a line of sight to the satellite.
In terms of plans, they are focusing on home usage for now but it isn’t unlimited. For on-demand usage, it will cost you RM25/GB, while their fixed monthly commitment option costs RM450/month with 25GB of quota. Once you’ve hit your quota limit, your web browser will direct you to a page to purchase more data. Kindly note that prices shown are not inclusive of GST.
CONNECTme promises download speeds of up to 15Mbps on a best effort basis, however, don’t expect latency to be as great as fibre. According to CONNECTme, it takes a quarter of a second to reach the satellite (250ms – one way) so it isn’t recommended if you plan to use it for real-time gaming and application. However, they do mention that the experience should be fine for web browsing, video streaming and VOIP calls.
For the on-demand option, there will require a massive upfront fee of RM2,500 + RM500 for an annual fee but this comes with free 25GB of monthly data for the first 6 months. CONNECTme charges RM500 for installation fee and surprisingly, it doesn’t come with a wireless router. If you need one, it will cost you RM300. Another surprise is that Support is listed as an RM50/monthly add-on for both plans.
Contract-wise, the on-demand option doesn’t have a lock-in period while the fixed option has a 6-months contract.
Like Astro, satellite services can be disrupted by bad weather. According to their FAQ, you may experience slower speeds for 15-30 minutes during a downpour and it could get longer if the rain is really heavy.
Registration of interest is now open and you can submit your details on their website if you’re interested. CONNECTme says that installation can be done within two working days from sign up. It’s also mentioned that the two-way satellite service would require an Apparatus Assignment from MCMC which is typically approved within 60 days.
The company behind CONNECTme is Pesat Sutramas Sdn Bhd and their office is located at Menara Maxis. According to its MYNIC domain records, CONNECTme is registered under Measat Satelite Systems, so it’s likely that the broadband service is using its current network of satellites.
To sum it up, CONNECTme is an alternative option for users that are located in places where Fibre and 4G connectivity isn’t possible. To get 15Mbps in the middle of nowhere is a privilege for some but the downside is its high cost and possibly lower performance during bad weather. As a comparison, you can get 100Mbps Fibre broadband from as low as RM149 on Time, RM259 on TM and RM299 on Maxis. We’ll try to get more details once it goes official.