Malaysia on the verge of Internet revolution

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 12): Malaysia is in the cusp of its own Internet revolution, touching the lives of millions of Internet users on how they communicate daily from their homes and offices, while giving a big boost to e-commerce.

This is a remarkable transformation of delivering higher speed Internet at a lower cost in the space of just five months since the May 9 general election, according to industry players.

They described it as the singular achievement of Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo who, with the right idea and backed by strong political will, has taken on an entire industry and delivered what one commentator called "The Impossible Dream" to Malaysian Internet users.

By focusing on delivering better and cheaper Internet connectivity for the masses, Gobind Singh has upended the telecommunication companies' resistance to deliver faster Internet services at a lower cost. What seemed a catchy slogan five months ago is today a reality for millions of Malaysians.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said it anticipates that the full implementation of the Mandatory Standard Access Pricing (MSAP) for fixed broadband services would see a reduction of prices of at least 25 per cent by Dec 31 while higher speeds will be made available.

MCMC said the implementation has instead resulted in over 30 per cent reduction for entry-level package prices.

But the telcos have been working double time and, in an unprecedented move this week, TM, Time Dotcom and Celcom came out in unison to say they agree to cut fixed broadband prices and offer higher speeds.

In what seems like the blink of an eye, broadband packages in Malaysia are now cheaper, with entry-level packages by some telcos now costing less than RM100. 

This is around 30 to 50 per cent less than before, and is a result of intervention by regulatory body MCMC.

For TM, the 30 Mbps priced at RM139 a month is now cheaper by 43 per cent at RM79.

The biggest savings is for Celcom’s 40 Mbps package, which dropped 56 per cent from RM180 to RM80 a month.

Maxis, which offers 30 Mbps from RM139, shaved off 36 per cent to RM89 per month, and TIME, which offers the fastest speed at 100 Mbps, reduced its monthly package price by 34 per cent, from RM149 to RM99.

This vast improvement in home broadband accessibility, as reflected in higher speed and lower cost, is a stepping stone to developing better fixed ultra-fast broadband for businesses to move up to "industrial scale" IT, such as cloud computing, data mining and e-commerce, the industry players told Bernama.

Also, fixed broadband will speed up inter-departmental coordination among government agencies.

"Obviously, what Gobind Singh has achieved is a virtuous cycle where lower pricing attracts many more Internet users, which in turn will further bring down the cost of Internet services for the man-in-the-street,” said an industry player.

The knock-on effect is a boon for the adoption of e-commerce in both goods and services which sees the participation of many small and medium enterprises, thus giving a shot in the arm to the Malaysian economy.