Malaysia in unchecked plunge in IT international competitiveness as illustrated by another adverse global study – the 2009 Oxford/Cisco Global Broadband Quality Score

Thirteen years ago Malaysia proclaimed the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) as “a gift to the world” and the centrepiece of the country’s strategic initiative to leapfrog the nation into the IT era to become one of the world IT powers.

Since then, MSC and Malaysia have faded away from the world radar screen as an international IT hotspot – and Malaysia’s unchecked plunge in IT international competitiveness in the past decade has been confirmed by another adverse global study, the 2009 Oxford/Cisco Global Broadband Quality Score.

This study of the global state of broadband quality put Malaysia 53rd out of 66 countries in terms of the quality and reach of its networks – understandably behind countries like Korea, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, United States but also trailing countries we should be leading like Turkey, Chile, China, Qatar, Brazil, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Bahrain, Thailand, Tunisia, Mexico, Philippines and UAE.

Malaysia could not make it into the three top broadband categories of “Ready for tomorrow” (nine countries led by South Korea and Japan), “Comfortably enjoying today’s applications” (16 nations), “Meeting needs of today’s applications” (14 nations), but falls into the last category of “Below today’s applications threshold” (27 nations) and occupying the 17th position.

South Korea and Japan continue to dominate the league table in this second global study, largely due to their commitment to fast networks.

In South Korea, for instance, the government has promised universal speeds of up to 1Gbps by 2012.

Internationally, broadband quality has moved from one of penetration, i.e. who had broadband connection and who did not, to include 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 was Malaysia’s national average broadband speed as nobody was talking about 2Mbps – lucky if 512 or 256kbps without disruptions!

At that time, the Australian government had just announced a A$43 billion new national broadband plan to provide broadband speeds of 100 Mbps to about 90 per cent of Australian homes, schools, and businesses by 2018. The other 10 per cent will get broadband access via wireless technology.

In the United States, President Barack Obama had announced a US$7.2 billion “broadband” stimulus and begun the process of developing a holistic plan for improving broadband access nationwide.

In the United Kingdom, the government was committed to provide broadband to every household with a minimum speed of 2Mbps, although a survey showed that 55% of the population believed 2Mbps would be too slow for a national minimum broadband speed.

Has Malaysia a National Broadband Quality Policy?

Why has Malaysia trailed so badly behind other countries when we were the first in the IT start-off with the proclamation of MSC in 1996?

The answer must be found not in IT but in governance and leadership, whether Malaysia has the political will to totally revamp the civil service, education, employment and ICT policies to attract and retain the best and the brightest, to give real meaning to “meritocracy” while tempered by equity considerations – the preconditions for Malaysia to compete with the rest of the world to become an IT power.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 2:05 pm

    What me worry, no lah, still ahead of 13 countries
    As if LKS tak faham Umno/BN’s culture
    Always mahu start new projects, the mega the better
    Lots of money allocated for the start of magaprojects
    This is the main reason, money, money, money
    To make some putras happy n billionaires
    Who cares after that
    Except for more new megaprojects

  2. #2 by Winston on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 2:15 pm

    Uncle Lim, the only way out of this morass is for the PR to take over the reigns of the Federal Government.
    We all have enough of the talk cock attitude of the UMNO/BN government!
    I think it is not too early to start the voters, especially the bumiputeras, to galvanise towards the PR.

  3. #3 by sheriff singh on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 2:38 pm

    “Why has Malaysia trailed so badly behind other countries when we were the first in the IT start-off with the proclamation of MSC in 1996?”

    Because we are a founder member of NATO – No Action Talk Only.

    After talk, sleep. After MM, AAB. But the former “apanama’ is also very forgetful.

    But really, we don’t have any plans at all. Just alot of International Advsory Groups and experts who jet in and out to humour our leaders, giving them some credibility whenever they fail. Where is Bill Gates etc?

    Who is really leading our domestic efforts?

  4. #4 by dawsheng on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 3:02 pm

    Faster broadband means bad news for UMNO, you cannot tell the government which lost 2/3 majority in the GE otherwise, more so when its losses can be attributed to the internet. So fat hope, everything will be slow as long as BN in power.

  5. #5 by gofortruth on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 3:10 pm

    Why we always start with the loudest bang but only to fade away in the end? Because the gomen only uses the projects by jacking up the cost skyhigh, their cronies grap the money ( tax payers’ money) and call it a quit on the projects and move on to the next one. Hmm…. like PKFZ. Now watch out for F1!

  6. #6 by dawsheng on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 3:22 pm

    The last thing UMNO wants to see is the replacement of MSM which they dominated, but what they didn’t realize is what they print is better use to tapau Nasi Lemak and Mee Goreng, though as an alternative, which could be painful, as toilet paper! The decline in print media is a worldwide phenomena, but unlike Malaysia, the decline in print media does not mean the declining standard in journalism.

  7. #7 by taiking on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 3:59 pm

    Hold it. Hold your tongue fellas. This is crucial. Ask tunisia. Ask brazil. Ask thailand. Ask Saudi Arabia. I dare you people to ask singapore and korea and even australia and many many more. Ask them this question. Has any of them send one – ya just one – angkasawan into space?

    I hereby declare Umno the winner (hands down).

  8. #8 by k1980 on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 4:20 pm

    Malaysia ranks 53rd out of 66 countries in terms of the quality and reach of its networks

    The White-Eyed Pea Rais will proudly proclaim that the country is still ahead of Somalia, Zimbabwe, Haiti ect. So why the big fuss?

  9. #9 by OrangRojak on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 4:58 pm

    How did P1 and MetroFon etc get their licence to provide Internet? I would have thought many Malaysians live in planned developments like where I live. It would be child’s play to equip a neighbourhood with a 100 Mbit/s or even 1Gbit/s network if the local council would grant permission to suspend wires across streets (or at least close one eye). 50Mbit/s would be easily achievable with wireless links across streets if wires couldn’t be used.

    The equipment is available from shopping malls, it’s cheap and you need hardly any skills to install it. Why aren’t there more small ISPs starting up? Did P1 and MetroFon have to get some sort of dispensation from the Pope to get access to the national network? Given the appalling state of home broadband at the moment, there ought to be representatives of innovative startups roaming the streets in packs!

  10. #10 by k1980 on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 5:05 pm

    No, OrangRojak, P1 and MetroFon did not have to get dispensation from the Pope to get access to the national network. However, they had applied for and received approval from Osama ben Laden in Tora Bora to access to the national network.

  11. #11 by monsterball on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 5:18 pm

    hahahahahahaha…These UMNO buggers are best crooks….best braggarts….best big mouth talkers….lousy in management…no experiences at all……most drivers..village heads…teachers….all… so call best IT experts…..making Malaysia…became the world… worst IT center..Smart Tunnel….so stupid now….biggest Parliament building….leaking and a tourist centre….white elephant project….Twin Tower…never full house..half empty…..loosing venture…..another white elephant project… leading newspapers……..loosing out to new comers…and the list goes on and on…without forgetting Proton.
    For corruptions…..Malaysian is also very famous.
    The best of all…is UMNO feels very proud of their so cal achievements..which have always been on auto pilots….without any minister…..having any managements skills to lead or show improvements.
    Biggest mouth old man said…..’I am a doctor. I cure”….and the rest is history.

  12. #12 by k1980 on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 5:36 pm

    Too late, Laliberte, you are not the first clown in space. The first clown in space was sent up by umno in 2007. But at least Laliberte has the decency to spend his own money for the tour.

  13. #13 by taiking on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 6:02 pm

    “The real reason why our broadband speed is bad. You wanna know? Yeah. The truth. Singapore. Yeah. Because of dem we did not have our crooked bridge. Dats why our internet access is slow. Its all dem. Nutin else. Look we already have our angkasawan. All we need now is the crooked bridge and our internet speed would just fly.”

    Official statement by our umno gobermen in response to the global study result.

  14. #14 by taiking on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 6:37 pm

    Oi sheriff singh,

    Re your comment #3. Pls dont look down upon our umno gobermen trained Tan Sri Dato Dr Prof Apapunboleh bin Similanchiaopunok – a well respected ex-umno leader.

  15. #15 by boh-liao on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 6:40 pm

    WWSIWWG – what we see is what we get
    this is the gomen rakyat elected, hence this is what we get
    downhill all the way, unchecked
    think we can replace the current gomen in the next GE?
    hope, that’s all, hope
    truth is susah lah – with friends like Hassan
    n Shahruddin in PR, who needs enemies
    shooting own feet lah, jumping n tap dancing, OK

  16. #16 by OrangRojak on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 8:18 pm

    The Malaysian Insider reports:

    “Telekom has so far claimed RM290 million from the government for work done [on HSBB]”

    So they overcharge us for a product that they can’t even deliver, buy foreign telcos with the profits, and then we have to subsidise them?

  17. #17 by Ramesh Laxman on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 8:51 pm

    YB Lim, You missed an important point. Our MSC did not go to waste. The Koreans took the idea and implemented on a nation wide basis in 2000. At least we have been of use to some countries. Ramalx

  18. #18 by johnnypok on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 10:01 pm

    Make noise No.1
    Corruption No.1
    Murder of innocent tourist No.1
    Terrorist No.1
    Murder by government authorities No.1
    Death in custody No.1
    Drink Coca-cola No.1
    Eat KFC No.1
    1 Malaysia also No.1

  19. #19 by ongmengfoong on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 10:48 pm

    it really does not need to take genuises in Oxford to tell us this. We all already know that we lagged behind, but this far?

    Truly Malaysia Boleh! Yeah, I bet someone will come out in the open and deny the validity of the Oxford/Cisco study.

    “Sound like fast broadband, packaged like fast broadband, look like fast broadband”… but definitely not fast-broadband!

  20. #20 by Taxidriver on Saturday, 3 October 2009 - 1:58 am

    “Why we always start with the loudest bang but only to fade away in the end?”-gofortruth

    You know when shit comes out from the chicken backside, it is very warm but will cool off very fast leaving behind an offensive stench. Our Bolehland government comprising half-past-six ministers is the same-‘hot hot chicken shit ( hangat-hangat tahi ayam )

  21. #21 by k1980 on Saturday, 3 October 2009 - 6:46 am

    Steal another’s national heritage also No.1

    UNESCO has recognized batik, a wax-resistant dyeing technique, as part of Indonesia’s distinct cultural heritage.

  22. #22 by cemerlang on Saturday, 3 October 2009 - 7:51 am

    Our beloved Malaysia is still developing. Therefore, everything is still developing. Political maturity is still developing. Malaysians way of thinking still developing. Education system still developing. Health services still developing. The legal system still developing. The information technology sector still developing. It is not pre development. It is not post development. It is not develop fully. But it is still developing. Therefore still got much room for trials, errors and improvements.

  23. #23 by Joshua on Saturday, 3 October 2009 - 8:51 am

    Important STOP press for Teo BH – hopefully not forgotten here…no contempt of court but assist the Inquest to clear the doubts with investigative line of questions on latest exposures with missing important links – Could GM be killed for this case?

    A lot of questions need to be answered on the two DNA
    samples found on Teoh Beng Hock’s clothes.

    1. Is it normal that DNA samples are done for each and every post mortem especially that of Gopala Muniam [matched] and also L Jeganathan [not matched]? Since this is 50-50 chance of matching
    more work on this other unidentified DNA must go on.

    2. Since it is a 99.9 matching for G Muniam, we have to know who is this G. Muniam who was alleged to have
    died on 17 July 2009. What does G. Muniam do for a living? Could he be in the same building as TBH prior to his alleged death? We need to see the bio data of G M and his death certificate and other burial details. Can he be involved with the death of TBH?

    3. Who was the officer of MACC who had initially refused DNA examination? What happened subsequently? Has this officer called to the witness stand?

    4. Can it be that GM was killed mysteriously on the
    day TBH’s death was revealed belately? Where is the Police Report on GM case? Who are the other family members of GM? Where is the hospital’s report on GM?

    5. Is it true that the condition of the hospital concerned was cramped?

    6. Is it possible that the drama has moved to the hospitals concerned against several other identified behaviour at MACC on 17th July?

    Joshua Kong
    PM for IGGG
    Mystery DNA: One revealed, one still unknown
    Oct 2, 09 10:50am

    One of the the mystery DNA samples detected on Teoh Beng Hock’s clothes was identified by forensics expert Dr Seah Lay Hong as belonging to a deceased male by the name of Gopala Muniam.

    pw: tadle Bltd

  24. #24 by yhsiew on Saturday, 3 October 2009 - 9:06 am

    High speed broadband will inevitably have to depend on optical fibers for transmission and reception of signals. Good optical fibers which allow data transfer speeds up to a few tera-bits per second (1 terabit = 1000 gigabits) are terribly expensive. I wonder how the government can cope with it if every home in Malaysia were to be linked to a broadband service provider via optical fibers.

    The other day I went to Jalan Pasar (KL) to get some optical fibers for my students to do a final year BSc project in optical transmission of data. The shop assistant said they did not have optical fiber cables but only optical fibers (raw fibers without the PVC protection cover). So I asked for 10m which cost RM38.

    To hook up the signal source to a PC with the fiber, you need to have an electrical-to-optical converter and an optical-to-electrical converter. Both devices cost RM800 in total. So we decided to make our own. After the system was completed the optical fiber could only deliver data (text characters) at a rate of no more than 1kbps due to poor quality of the fiber.

    The students had contacted and had placed an order for 10m length of optical fiber cable (RM90). However, farnell said currently they did not have stock in Malaysia and we had to wait for the cable to be imported from US.

    Having tried my hand on fiber optics, I believe the government will have to rely on foreign experts to put up optical fibers which can deliver data at speeds of several hundred mega bits per second.

  25. #25 by OrangRojak on Saturday, 3 October 2009 - 10:12 am

    yhsiew, Malaysia already has plenty of fibre – did you know about the FibreComm fiasco? TNB installed fibre on top of its national grid, but MCMC prevented them from offering Internet access baecause it might become a monopoly – so ownership was transferred to TM!

    Fibre is expensive, but not nearly as expensive as incompetent management of it. I don’t want to sound stupid – but what is the argument for FTTH (Fibre To The Home)? 100Mb/1Gb ethernet seems to work very well, and DVD quality video is only 5 Mbit/s or so (I might be wrong). Other countries have managed to get 5-8 Mbit/s out of much of their existing ADSL infrastructure, and I have read that 24MBit/s is possible – and see the Wikipedia article on the 250Mbit/s VDSL2! (Actually scroll down, I see the Malaysian Wikipedia editors are contributing with their usual humour – unless they’re serious…)

    I see FibreComm’s website now invites resellers – do you know of anyone that has tried? Distribution from their access points to areas with high concentrations of customers will probably be the sticking point. I wonder if that’s why FibreComm is now offering access and nobody is mentioning the already-existing fibre project when they talk about HSBB?

  26. #26 by taiking on Saturday, 3 October 2009 - 11:48 am

    BBC world service today has a programme on Rwanda’s effort to build a knowledge-based economy. Watch it umno. We might lose out to this late starter if the umno gobermen has its priorities wrong and its emphasis on corruption and abuse.

  27. #27 by ban ban on Saturday, 3 October 2009 - 12:36 pm

    Take an example. One of my friends is working at singapore, and he shares the experience of using broadband there. He purchases a 8Mbps service, and most of the time he can roam up to 7++Mbps, continuously, and even at peak hour still can get 3-4Mbps services.
    While i am using Streamyx (i do have money to use broadband) here with 2Mbps service, i can get the following results:
    1. average speed of about 400-500Kbps
    2. continuously – is a rare achievement, where most of the time not
    3. peak hour – drop to 250-300Kbps
    So can i file a complain to the consumers association?

  28. #28 by Chamteh on Saturday, 3 October 2009 - 1:25 pm

    A few matters got to be checked collectively to put Malaysia in front. Who’s checking on quality of education, COST & quatlity of medical care and community building & security??

  29. #29 by ringthetill on Saturday, 3 October 2009 - 3:48 pm

    The Internet has many network parts and components that must all be proficiently designed, implemented and maintained to ensure good surfing experience.
    The access network bit, connecting the customer is just but one part and is the most expensive to build and maintain.
    Many professional engineers know the issues, but more often in BOLEHLAND these issues are hijacked by people with other deviant motives – “to make a fast buck” seems to ring a bell, everytime.
    Making a good job often kills the cash-cow. So the maxim is “macam macam boleh” instead of “mesti boleh”. Food for thought, eh?

  30. #30 by nkkhoo on Saturday, 3 October 2009 - 6:48 pm

    Many of you may not know that I coined “TMNUT” in 1998 in soc.cul.malaysia after a huge frustration with TMnet dial-up serviice quality in my kampung after returned from overseas.

    With the same bunch of idiots are running TMnet and MCMC, Malaysia position in broadband will be slipped further to lower 10 in the world by 2020.

    What MCMC know about is to investigate for a non-issue article.

  31. #31 by trevthum on Sunday, 4 October 2009 - 3:58 am

    The big player of broadband providers in Malaysia or even the Malaysians ourselves shouldn’t whine about why Singapore can have better facilities because “their area is small and easier to be handled”

    What we ask is pretty simple:

    Upgrade the infrastructure in major cities such as KL, Penang etc, then only to other cities.

    P/S: Do we need a reality check of public transportation as well? All these can help to improve Malaysia’s productivity, in fact.

  32. #32 by OrangRojak on Sunday, 4 October 2009 - 10:33 am

    What we ask
    Is the opposite, I would have thought. An asymmetric upgrade to the major cities’ Internet provision would only increase the disparity in wealth between them and the rest of Malaysia, increasing pressure on people to migrate to the cities. Decent broadband infrastructure can go a long way toward suburban and rural revival, reducing the need to travel long distances to do work.

    I would prefer TM – or anybody with an uncle in the current government – “bu yao dong” the infrastructure for a while, while small ISPs are encouraged to offer innovative local services on new, (locally) high speed networks. There’s no reason at all why even moderate-sized settlements shouldn’t have free local video calls, integrated ‘neighbourhood surveillance’ schemes, groups of collaborating digital arts companies. You don’t need an expensive office to provide information services! TM prevents those kinds of industries starting with its out-of-date ‘centrally planned’ control of the networks.

    What TM should be doing is concentrating on managing its national bulk network to ensure that consumer service providers have reliable access to the international Internet. Their greatest problem, I suspect, is that they don’t know which business they’re in: national infrastructure / consumer service provider / foreign telco speculator / government charity basket case.

  33. #33 by do something on Sunday, 4 October 2009 - 4:23 pm

    Mr. Lim,

    Pls do something for our shameful BROADBAND infrastructure in Malaysia!!! We really cant stand anymore after so many complaints to MCMC!! Pls abolish the Govt policy of “Fair Usage Policy” of 5GB, etc.. 5GB is so so so pathetic. Its NOT going to let Malaysians to fully utilise the internet, be it in business or personal.

  34. #34 by raverz on Sunday, 4 October 2009 - 6:08 pm

    I just got an iPhone and in my enthusiasm, signed up for a monthly data plan with telco M which is my provider.

    However, the so called 3G speeds that I am currently getting, if I even do get a signal at all, are appalling. My streamyx home connection is by far, superior compared to the 3G connection on my mobile phone which should not be the case.

    I called telco M a few times to report the issue and they told me it’ll take 7 days for the technical team to respond to me. Then I called them again and asked for a rebate since I pay a monthly fee but I’m not even getting a data connection. It’s intermittent. They called me back after an hour, and get this, they told me that they’ll offer me the rebate. However, they ‘advised’ me to terminate the monthly data plan should I not be satisfied with it.

    Is this what our telco’s have come to? Just because they have monopolies, they can tell us to go fly kites? What’s MCMC or whatever organization in charge doing about this? If they can’t control the telco’s, then open up the market please!

  35. #35 by OrangRojak on Monday, 5 October 2009 - 1:31 pm

    do something – ‘Fair Usage Policy’ will never go away. Artificial bandwidth caps are an effort to avoid congested networks, which would just look ‘broken’ to consumers.

    I think a 1Mbit/s Internet connection, maxed out continuously, you could download about 10GB of data per day, or 300GB per month. Network providers work on the basis that not all downstream users are transferring data non-stop, so they can share one connection of the same bandwidth between many users in the same neighbourhood. This is the ‘contention ratio’ you hear about, and is roughly equivalent to the ‘quality’ of 1Mbit/s you can expect.

    In the UK, contention ratios for consumer broadband are typically between 20 and 50 to 1. If 50 consumers in your neighbourhood are continuously downloading data at a shared 1Mbit/s, they will get 300GB / 50 = 6GB each. Arithmetic can be a blind and brutal force, but it is fair. It doesn’t actually work like that. Although networks have features built in to ensure ‘graceful degradation’ of service, many applications will just start failing when the network becomes congested, so the average total download on a congested network may well be much, much lower.

    Nearly every ISP sells ‘premium’ connections with lower contention ratios / higher caps, but these are obviously more expensive. When I realised the quality of my Streamyx connection, I enquired about renting a dedicated line. A 512kbit/s dedicated line was RM42,000 per year (plus the dig / hang to my house), although they did say there was some ‘discount’ available. That price is pretty much what they could expect to earn from 50 512kbit/s Streamyx deals.

    I had a BT (British Telecom) broadband connection that charged extra (in 2003/4) for going over a 4GB cap. That seemed reasonable to me. People have different requirements from the Internet. I think the only fair scheme is to charge for amount of data transferred. That is difficult to do precisely, so charging in blocks of 5GB or so shouldn’t be seen as unfair. What happens when you exceed a TM 5GB cap? Do they charge or throttle you?

    I agree with ‘raverz’ – the market should be opened up. I think you’d see a ‘Fair Usage Policy’ of some sort being a common feature of any deal you could get. If I ran my own ISP, I would sneak around at night shooting P2P leechers, or Internet surfers who didn’t use AdBlock. That too, would be a kind of ‘cap’.

  36. #36 by 1problem on Tuesday, 6 October 2009 - 11:18 pm

    haha…johnnypok #18, it should be like this

    monkey in parlimen/meeting= no.1
    corruption in mega project = no.1
    crime rates up = no.1
    fight to be kampung hero = no.1
    talks cocksss = no.1
    project IC at sabah = no.1
    low quality road & construction= no.1
    alibaba & nonyababa project = no.1
    internet sucksss all times = no.1
    import players such as toyo = no.1
    proton car quality from back = no.1
    F1 from back = no.1
    buying voters = no.1
    send astronauts to space = no.1
    internet quality from back = no.1

    so…..we must be proud…cos we always NO.1
    maybe that’s what the PM thinking……….
    NO.1 from behind is still numberer UNO
    number satu, number one,…haha…….

    malaysia boleh…….?

  37. #37 by do something on Friday, 9 October 2009 - 10:53 am

    To Orang Rojak,

    Thanks for all your “useful” knowledge info. What I know is, I cannot fully utilise the internet broadband to carry out my work effectively. FYI, my speed is 150kb/sec. Besides waiting for my email attachment to download slowly everyday, what else you think I can do with this Malaysia Broadband??

    Mr. Lim Kit Siang’s reports is very true based on worldwide statistics. I guess you know very clearly WHERE WE STAND in this report.

    Lots of improvement is needed in this area. This is my only conclusion.

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