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YTL launches Asia’s first Terragraph trial in Penang. Free gigabit wireless access for 6 months.

YTL Communications has kicked off its trial launch of Terragraph in Penang. This is a new wireless technology developed by Facebook which aims to provide gigabit speeds in urban areas without the complexities of laying fibre. Malaysia is the second country in the world to kickoff large scale Terragraph trials after Hungary.

The Terragraph trial is conducted in Georgetown, Penang for a period of six months. The city, which has legacy infrastructures and a prestigious UNESCO status, makes it difficult to deploy fibre. With Terragraph, it is possible to provide the city with high-speed broadband access by utilising existing street furnitures such as street lamps, traffic lights and utility poles. As a result, it can be deployed faster and more cost efficient than fibre broadband.

The collaboration between YTL Communications and Facebook is line with the Malaysian Government’s National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan’s (NFCP) to provide high speed and high quality internet access at affordable prices. According to YTL Communications, Facebook has provided a reference design for the Telegraph hardware which includes the tools and software needed to operate the technology.

According to YTL Communications CEO, Wing K. Lee, the pilot confirms the viability of wireless as an effective last mile solution. He added that the technical breakthrough in providing gigabit wireless using Terragraph is a preview of the exciting era of 5G.

During the launch event, YTL Communications had conducted a Terragraph speedtest that showed 1.3Gbps downloads and 1.7Gbps uploads. The Speedtest also recorded a latency of 13ms. Terragraph operates on a higher unlicensed 60GHz band. At the moment, there are more than 20 poles in Georgetown with the wireless terminals and they will continue to expand more throughout the trial period.

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The Terragraph trial will run from 1 March 2019 and YTL will be offering the public free high-speed internet via Free WiFi. They will also provide free Fixed Wireless Access for trial users in coverage areas. YTL Communications will study the trial results before introducing commercial plans.

Deutsche Telekom and its subsidiary Magyar Telekom had conducted Terragraph trials in Mikebuda, Hungary. In places were homes were still using copper based technologies, Terragraph has helped to boost the internet speeds from 5Mbps to 650Mbps.

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Alexander Wong