Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why Was Telekom Given Wired Broadband Monopoly?

The Deputy Minister for Information, Communication and Culture, Heng Seai Kie was wrapping up the budget debate policy stage for the Ministry yesterday. You can read her reply on issues relating to broadband in the Hansard here (pg 63 onwards) and decide for yourself if we have the right competence in this ministry (headed by Rais Yatim)

The government was reiterating its commitment to achieve top quality broadband services and maximum penetration in the shortest possible time. Sri Gading said something sensible this time, asking why is there no competition.
Datuk Haji Mohamad bin Haji Aziz [Sri Gading]: [...]Yang Berhormat menceritakan tentang jalur lebar ini begitu begini, begitu begini. Saya hendak tanya projek jalur lebar ini pun akan gagal kalau sistem monopoli TM ini berterusan. Kenapa, kenapa, kenapa, perempuan, perempuan, perempuan, kenapa dan mengapa, tidak ada pilihan lain kah? Mesti TM juga. Kenapa dan mengapa mesti TM juga? Tidak boleh kah dia beri peluang, rezeki ini kepada syarikat-syarikat lain. Jadi, kalau ada persaingan Tuan Yang di-Pertua, mungkin akan memberi faedah kepada rakyat yang ramai. Ini kerana, apabila ada persaingan ia tidak monopoli. Ia akan menjaga pelanggannya lebih kerana takut kehilangan pelanggan. Akan tetapi, kalau dia punya sendiri, macam kepala bapa dia punya lah... [Ketawa] [...]

Puan Heng Seai Kie: Yang Berhormat, saya memang setuju bahawa apabila ada persaingan, maka ada kemajuan dan perkara ini memang adalah polisi kementerian untuk memperbanyakkan pemain di dalam bidang jalur lebar ini. [...]
Ummm... that's the answer? She said she agreed that with greater competition, there will be more progress... but then why Telekom monopoly, especially with regards to the HighSpeed Broadband project? I stood to ask (but it was damn tough asking IT questions in Malay... ;-))
Tuan Pua Kiam Wee [Petaling Jaya Utara]: Saya sebenarnya bersetuju dengan pandangan yang telah pun dibentangkan oleh Yang Berhormat Sri Gading. Saya agak jawapan yang diberikan oleh Yang Berhormat Timbalan Menteri itu macam tidak selaras dengan hakikat iaitu sebenarnya pada masa ini, buat lane line broadband secara berwayar, hanya satu syarikat sahaja diberi.

Ada orang lain boleh pakai tetapi perlu sewa daripada Syarikat Telekom dan Syarikat Telekom akan sewa dengan harga yang mahal. Oleh sebab itu, tidak ada syarikat lain yang ingin memberikan perkhidmatan broadband secara berwayar. Ada sedikit persaingan melalui wayarles tetapi secara berwayar boleh dikatakan dengan most convenient sebab tiap-tiap rumah ada telefon line, itu semua kuasa monopoli Telekom.

So, apakah langkah yang akan diambil oleh kementerian untuk memecahkan kuasa monopoli ini supaya lebih ramai pemain dari syarikat-syarikat baru dapat masuk dalam bidang ini.

Kedua, kita sudah tahu bahawa high speed broadband project ini akan dilancarkan dan mungkin akan habis pada tahun 2012 tetapi sehingga tahap 10MB per second sahaja. Akan tetapi banyak negara-negara lain sehingga tahun 2012 sudah akan sampai mencapai 1 GB dan bukannya 10MB. So, kita hendak tengok bukan sahaja rancangan dua tahun yang akan datang, apakah dasar bagi kerajaan untuk lima tahun, sepuluh tahun yang akan datang sebab ini akan menyebabkan memberi kesan kepada competitiveness sesebuah negara. Terima kasih.
And the reply was (after initially not understanding my question):
Puan Heng Seai Kie: Okey, terima kasih kerana membantu. Yang Berhormat Petaling Jaya Utara, berbalik kepada soalan yang ditujukan. Kita tahu bahawa bagi perkhidmatan jalur lebar ini merupakan sesuatu yang baru untuk Malaysia. Jadi, sebagai permulaan, kerajaan haruslah mencari satu rakan kongsi yang boleh dipercayai dengan latar belakang yang mantap.

Jadi, pada masa itu Telekom Malaysia telah dipilih sebagai rakan kongsi ini. Walau
bagaimanapun, kementerian ini memang maklum tentang dua isu yang telah dibangkitkan oleh Yang Berhormat Petaling Jaya Utara tadi. Percayalah buat masa ini, kementerian memang sedang mengambil usaha untuk memperbaiki keadaan ini. Tuan Yang di-Pertua, boleh saya teruskan.
And that was the answer. She said broadband is "something new for Malaysia". Excuse me? For 8 years we have been talking about MSC and broadband and have failed miserably with Streamyx or other wireless services, and the Deputy Minister claims broadband is something new for Malaysia? No wonder we are that far behind.

And being new is apparently the reason for TM to be chosen as the sole "rakan kongsi" and hence creating once again a monopoly, going exactly against what she had stated earlier, that is "ada persaingan, maka ada kemajuan"! Habislah macam ini!

13 comments:

Shawn Tan said...

This chart may come in handy. Japan pays US$0.27 per Mbps while we pay US$32 per Mbps (118 times higher!!). Sigh...

shankar~selina said...

Where is the gift to the world from Malaysia? I am still waiting.. Look at Singapore. At least you can learn from them.

shinliang said...

Saya yakin TM adalah rakan kongsi yang mantap. Setelah sekian lama menjadi monopoli internet jalur lebar di Malaysia, kelajuan 1MB pun tak sampai!

Bolehkan YB nyatakan usaha yang sedang diambil? Jgnlah asyik kata "ada usaha", tapi sila nyatakan, jelaskan dan terangkan apakah usaha yang sedang dibincangkan.

Saya faham sekarang kenapa keadaan jalur lebar di M'sia begini, mungkinkah kerana Menteri kita masih lagi narrowband (tak cup cepat) - mungkin 57.6kbps shj.

Anonymous said...

We really have dinosaurs in BN. Even those educated ones are dinosaurs. Geek Minister can't give a better answer for IGP KPI figures, Najib with his 6-9 position on GDP, Hishamuddin can't do basic math AND statistics BUT think they do. You expect them from MPs from boondocks but Ministers with degrees from top university can't do real math and technology.

What do you expect when it comes to complex issues like monopolistic vs competitive economics?

lionel0008 said...

"Kita tahu bahawa bagi perkhidmatan jalur lebar ini merupakan sesuatu yang baru untuk Malaysia."

I thought Malaysia was one of the first in the world to have broadband even before most parts of the USA when it was first released.

Simon Seow said...

Sigh. We're going to pay expensive fees for slow broadband connection again.

Anonymous said...

look at our telekom, offered speed is around 384k to 1M for home user if i'm not mistaken, after 8 years our speed remains the same. Comparing with other nation, they have at least 10M internet speed, no more 1M. Ask yourself how are we going to compete with other nation, now only we start with this so call High Speed Broadband project and i think only a few area in Malaysia can use this service. How to increase broadband penetration in Malaysia? So lame... I think we already lose in this competition. Even if TM no more monopoly, i think we need a long time to catch up with other nation... and need a lot of money as well.

Simon Seow said...

My friend in Singapore is paying SGD 47 for 100 MB/sec line. We're paying like RM 110 for 1 MB/sec line here, which includes the fixed line rental

mr.azka said...

sekadar berkongsi dengan semua.

saya sendiri 2 tahun tunggu. puas ke sana sini buat aduan, baru lah telekom pasang port streamyx. last2 kabel kena kebas. ini salah satu contoh monopoli.

kalau setakat dengar masalah saja, tiada tindakan. merugikan rakyat. untuk info semua, kejadian berlaku di kelantan.

shinliang said...

Having working as a telecommunication engineer, I do have a few points to share:

1. Singapore is able to dish out high speed at low price because of their high density of population. This allows easier design, and lower cost of deployment. E.g. all you have to do is to pull one transmission cable to an apartment and you serve hundreds of subscribers. But in Malaysia, we'll have to pull hundreds of cables all over the residential area.

2. The chart by Shawn is most likely the consumer cost, not the operator's cost. In Malaysia, due to exchange rate (expensive equipments) and also because Malaysians like to P2P so much, the cost to operators in Malaysia is 'devastating'. When operators start to limit subscribers downloading 'illegal' movies+games and stop P2P, we get angry responses. And as a business company, we never fight with customers so we continue to provide services for P2P. But if P2P services are stop altogether, all of us will at least get double of our current speeds. (Just imagine how many webpages you can go to with the amount of data of one movie!)

And trust me, I've seen the statistics of P2P users, it scares the shit out of me. And one of the highest P2P users are usually concentrated around where college and university students are staying (hmmm, I wonder why? =P ).

3. Operators can only provide service as good as their profit allows them to. One cannot expect operators to be charitable organisations. So remember, P2P are rubbish revenue. 1 subscriber can download a movie or they can use email+msn but they still pay the same price to the operator.

4. While we may not be providing the best services, operators in Malaysia are using one of the best technology (believe it or not!) in the world to provide the services. But instead of providing better services, due to unfair usage of the bandwidth (such as P2P and others), it has become a tool to provide more connection to more people with the same (small) bandwidth. It's all about costs. It has to be sustainable for the operators.


Having said all that, competition is always good. It will definitely raise our internet speed to at least a few bars higher. But don't expect it to be comparable with Japan or Singapore.

michael said...

If one line to an apartment unit can supply hundreds of household, how does one justify that high speed broadband in Japan is one of the cheapest on earth? Most of them do not live in apartments and yet they are supplied with optical fibres lines.

Anonymous said...

As much as we feel appalled by the incompetence of the people entrusted with our future in all matters of Malaysia, including education, technology and this subject matter, broadband, we must continue to collectively push our ideas, views and visions for a better Malaysia.

Tony Pua, you may not have broadband speed but you are conduit enough to channel our goals for a better Malaysia!

Thank you and keep up the good work!

shinliang said...

Michael, there's a lot of factors. high population density is one, but it certainly isn't the only one.

Why japan can do it? because they, Nttdocomo, have money. tonnes of it. backed up by its nation, the 2nd/3rd largest economy in the world and their relative exchange rate (PPI) for equipments made in Sweden, Finland and America.

I reiterate (read above) that I'm not defending TM's monopoly. The monopoly has to go. but bear in mind that the way malaysians use internet is also one of the reason we have sucky internet. ONE of the MANY reasons.