Many Malaysians would have been shocked at the expensive highspeed broadband (Unifi) packages rolled out by Telekom.
No wonder TM decided to launch them in the affluent areas of Shah Alam, Subang Jaya, Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Bangsar. Whatever happened to bridging the digital divide?
Blog reader Ganesh shares his concern:
Yet again, Malaysians are misled with false promises. For months there was so much hype to the government’s initiative to provide cheaper, affordable and yet very fast broadband.
Yesterday, it came as a shock to Malaysians that the so-called affordable and fast broadband service starts at RM149 and ranges up to RM249. To many Malaysians, this sum is a huge commitment. Many were expecting prices from RM50 onwards.
To make matters worse, the Star reported today that in Singapore, one could get 1Gbps for RM200. Mind you, RM200 to a Singaporean is small money. Don’t just convert, see the GDP per capita. Most Singaporeans are earning five times more than Malaysians as Malaysia has one of the lowest GDP per capita in the region.
Thus RM200 for a 1Gbps line is small change to a Singaporean. But our mere 5Mbps at RM149 is big money to the average Malaysian. To some, its money to feed the whole family for a whole week.
Clearly the government has no idea about the purchasing power of Malaysians and the low remuneration the average Malaysian earns and the very shocking fact that the average person’s pay packet is not in proportion to the cost of living in Malaysia.
In comparison, the 6Mbps broadband in Singapore (Singtel) with unlimited downloads is S$30 per month and the 15Mbps broadband with unlimited downloads is going for S$62.
The mobile broadband with a free USB stick and with speeds of 1.2Mbps is S$14 per month with a 30GB allowance (Starhub)
Again, please be reminded Singaporeans earn far more than the average Malaysian does and yet their broadband is much cheaper. In 2009 Singapore’s GDP (nominal) per capita was $35,000 whilst Malaysia was $8,000 (Refer Wikipedia)
So, with our purchasing power so low, how can the average person afford RM149?
Was the government ever sincere about giving affordable Internet to the public? I wonder.
Another reader, P Singh, clarifies the Singapore pricing:
Anil, actually the broadband in Singapore is much cheaper than the above figures. The above is Singtel.
Singapore’s M1 gives 5Mbps for SG$25.20 and 15Mbps for SG$42.90.
… The quoted S$62 (above) is far more expensive than SG$42.90 for the 15Mbps line.
This makes the gap in pricing for the 15Mbps between Malaysia and Singapore much bigger! SG42.90 VS RM249.