Thursday, October 22, 2009
Malaysia’s broadband quality is below par, says Oxford study
By Leslie Lau
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 – Malaysia was ranked a poor 48 out of 66 countries for Internet broadband quality in a study conducted by Oxford University and sponsored by Cisco.
The global study on broadband quality conducted by Oxford’s Said Business School listed Malaysia among countries which had Internet speeds which were “below today’s applications threshold.”
Malaysia is listed in the same category but above countries like the United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Pakistan, Morocco, Vietnam and Indonesia. China, Malta, Brazil and Thailand are among countries just ahead of Malaysia in broadband quality but still in the same low category.
Countries like Singapore, Britain, Australia, Spain, Turkey and the Ukraine were listed above Malaysia as having Internet speeds “meeting needs of today’s applications.”
Switzerland, the United States, Russia, Taiwan and Hong Kong “comfortably enjoy today’s applications. Crucially, Korea, Japan, Sweden, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Netherlands, Denmark and Romania were identified as countries with broadband speeds that were “ready for tomorrow.”
The study was conducted between May and July this year and Broadband Quality Scores (BQS) were awarded based on 24 million records sourced from speed tests.
A similar study conducted last year established that download speeds of 3.75 Mbps and upload of 1 Mbps was the quality requirement needed for today’s applications such as social networking, video steaming, video chatting and file sharing.
For what was classified as “tomorrow’s requirements” speeds of 11.25 Mbps for downloads and 5 Mbps for uploads was needed for visual networking, HD video streaming, consumer telepresence, large file sharing and HD IPTV applications.
According to the study, the research team had found that broadband quality was linked to social and economic benefits and that countries with high broadband quality have broadband on their national agenda.
In a statement earlier today, the DAP’s Lim Kit Siang described the study as confirmation of Malaysia’s unchecked plunge in international IT competitiveness.
“Internationally, broadband quality has moved from one of penetration, i.e. who had broadband connection and who did not, to broadband speed but Malaysia is till bogged down in the initial stage.
“Some six months ago, when Datuk Dr Rais Yatim was also appointed Communications Minister apart from his other portfolios of Information, Culture and Arts, I had called on him to give top priority to turn Malaysia into a broadband power, both in broadband penetration rate as well as in broadband speed if Malaysia is to enhance its competitiveness to take its rightful place in the global arena.
“I had asked what Malaysia’s national average broadband speed was, because nobody was talking about 2Mbps – we are lucky if we get 512 or 256kbps without disruption!”
Malaysians in selected areas will get access to high-speed broadband only by the first quarter of next year.
Residents of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Bangsar, both in Kuala Lumpur, Subang Jaya and Shah Alam have been promised broadband speeds of 10 Mbps and above under the High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) project.
Residents in high-worth economic zones such as the rest of the Klang Valley and Iskandar Malaysia are expected to get the service later with 1.3 million households expected to have access by 2012.
The HSBB project is a public-private partnership between Telekom Malaysia and the government. Telekom is expected to invest RM8.9 billion of its own funds while the government will put in RM2.4 billion.
Telekom has so far claimed RM290 million from the government for work done.
Malaysia currently lags behind advanced countries in terms of quality and affordability of its broadband offerings, which has been confirmed by the Oxford University study.
While some countries such as Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Sweden and Finland have been enjoying speeds up to 100 Mbps for several years now, most Malaysian still make do with speeds of 1 Mbps or less.
Recently, Singapore, China and Australia have also upped the stakes in this strategic sector and announced massive initiatives to wire up their countries with fibre optics.