Highspeed broadband for whom?


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.

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All over the world, broadband prices over the past 10 years have: a) gone down in prices b) increased in speeds. But in Malaysia, our mere 1Mbps has been at RM88 for so many years that people cannot even remember how many years it has been. In the UK for example, due to healthy competition, Broadband in 2000 was about £50. That was probably 512Kpbs speeds. By 2003, it was offering 1Mb adsl for £32.99 per month. By March 2004 British Telecom introduce 512kb service for £19.99. Over the years, prices went down and speeds went up. Speeds increased from… Read more »


20Mbps from TM RM10 billion fiber optic HSBB project is called high speed broadband? This is another joke from Bolehland.

In contrast, M1 Singapore already provide 100Mbps ADSL service at RM150/month.


Government is subsidising RM2.4 billion in Telekom HSBB netwrok infra project (without public tender and granted monopoly to Telekom) and the rakyat had expected a reasonable cheaper rate (between RM50-RM100). Look like Telekom rate of RM149-RM249 is based on actual project cost without considering the subsidy it received from government. The comparisons given by Ganesh are for existing ADSL (copper wire) broadband services by Singtel or cable broadband by STARHUB. HSBB are using Fibre connection to the home. A better comparison will be the HSBB price which is still not available yet for retail home users in Singapore. What is… Read more »


Just in case you guys do not know the background of this so-called “HIGH SPEED” broadband thingy … Look at who is in charged. It’s a company based in Kuantan, Pahang ! Yes. Kuantan, Pahang ! Izzit a coincident that Kuantan Pahang is also the base for Najib? The Billions and Billions (I lost count of the total amount, but it’s more than 12 Billions) allocated for the project falls into that company. TM is just a side-partner. Furthermore, that “triple-play” thingie is “provided” by that Kuantan based company, not TM. Hate to say this — First they untung from… Read more »

Gerakan K

Very funny. Show me the proof to back your claim, please.


The only reason BN is still in power is that it has managed to conceal its shortcomings by undermining the very insitutions which are supposed to expose them ! Would you ever find a critique of TM’s service after so long? They say cost is a factor, fair enough but then please explain the ever-rising cost of TM fixed line rental when I have been paying for it for over 26 years? I doubt my neighbours have been paying for any less time. Cross subsidy of services they’re NOT ! Can you imagine if the local IT media (including and… Read more »

Gerakan K

I still remember the honorable Tun Dr. Lim Keng Yek said that he had not surf the web often because of slow speed. Many progressive policies in IT also proposed by him. Be honest my friend. Please give credit where credit is due.


“New things always expensive”
Megabit networking is over 30 years old.

Gerakan K

Well you may say computing exists many decades ago. Tell me where to get 20 mbps 10 years ago for mass market ???

p/s: intranet/leased line don’t count, OK !


Cable TV Modems – usually called ‘Cable Modems’ appeared around 20 years ago. History of networking sites seem to be quite thin on the ground but here’s trials of 10Mbit/s downstream in 1994, and 550,000 subscribers by 1998:


It’s hard to say when your target of 20Mbps was first achieved, but the cable modem standard DOCSIS seems like it specified 40Mbit/s per channel downstream in 1997. Wikipedia’s “List of device bandwidths” lists cable as being 38MBit downstream in 1997 and 2001 (the difference is in the upstream), while ADSL didn’t rise to 24Mbit/s until 2003.



whats the big deal with capping?a lot of other countries do it.i think the rate tm is giving is considered acceptable.im living in australia.and i have to pay 60aud for 5mbps and im capped at 40gb of download per month.and i can only use 15gb during peak time..tm at least doesnt have any peak or off peak internet period(as far as im aware)so what is this nonsense about tm charging too much.u have to bare in mind that singapore already has fibre optic cable in their country.now tm and other internet provider like time.com has to invest a lot of… Read more »

Gerakan K


rather rare honest comment.

P Singh

Gerakan K, you say you know pricing mechanism, UK got 60 million people and much bigger land mass than Malaysia, so, surely need more exchanges.

So, how come their 20Mbps only £10?



Btw, Astro prices have gone up over the years.

You sure you know how to count?

Gerakan K

Jangan tipulah Ah Singh !

You don’t know at that time, you need RMxxxx just to install Astro. Then they give you a TV guide with hundreds of pages (including other entertainment info). Nowadays, Astro will be given as free gift for other purchases such as car, electrical items, etc.


You notty boy !

Told you to take your medicine and you just wouldn’t listen, would you?

Now you tok nonsense here … sigh !


Sean, Thanks for your reply and I agree with your salient points but the issue is simply this: You charge x amount on a promised bandwidth, you should deliver some minimums at least. The issue with our guys is that they will milk the infrastructure to the max so much so users just dont get even a decent minimal speed. What is fair usage defined as? For it to be “fair” the ISPs should also provide a decent minimum speed irrespective of how some users may be using the network. Any of our telcos promising that? Possibly Digi? What we… Read more »


I think a minimum service level is a great idea rthur, although it would require either a very honest ISP or a functioning regulator. Sorry about the car-parking analogy, it is terrible. How about a roads analogy? My nearest highway ‘advertises’ 110km/h, but I only got 5km/h at CNY. If we all got 110km/h reliably out of highways at CNY, the whole country would be covered in concrete and tarmac – there wouldn’t be anywhere to build dams! There are people who genuinely need to transfer large amounts of data, long distance for their work, hobbies and entertainment. The roads… Read more »


Sean mate,

Adding more nodes and more bandwidth as your subscriber base grows lot cheaper than building highways 😉 and is the morally right way to do business. All we ask for is a little honesty in the way these ISPs treat us their subscribers and for that we need a regulatory body that cares enough to see to these issues. Dear Mr. PM sir, are you listening?

Gerakan K

Remember the price of Astro subscription back to 1997 ??? And compare it with current price. New things always expensive and the price will coming down progressively. Again why PR cheerleaders always do / say the wrong thing that offending many people without his acknowledgment ??? Don’t expect the offended people to vote for your party forever. That is why BN still is the government regardless of its shortcomings….


“Now we can host our website inside our office/home.” You always could. A local version (soon to go offline) of my demo of an API for Pos is served from my home, from an old PC with no screen or keyboard located just behind my laptop, connected via Streamyx near Port Dickson here: http://pos.spider.my/ When you request a page from that site, the request goes to my desk in Port Dickson, then straight back to you. It should be reasonably fast in Malaysia, probably bloody awful from the rest of the world. I think Streamyx has always been the only… Read more »


I had installed (for proof of concept purpose)web hosting in my PC with dynamic IP connection at about ten years ago. As long as you have 24X7 always on internet connection, I do not see there is any technical problem to host website in your PC through mobile internet.

Gerakan K

Ha ha yes yes technically it is possible to host toy website only with one or two users. What I mean is with Unifi + static IP, we can host standard website with SSL, VPN and a lot more services. Unifi saves us from expensive dedicated leased line.


This is the moment I lose any friends I might have been about to make. The difference between the local mobile networks and the Streamyx and 1515 networks is that users on TM’s networks are assigned an individual IP address from a routable public set. Visitors to a website on that address could type the address (like directly into their browsers, or you could arrange for a nameserver to map a host name to that address which would work until TM assigns you a new one (TM seems to let you keep the same IP address for weeks or… Read more »

P Singh

Anil, actually the Broadband in Singapore is very much more cheaper than the above figures. The above is Singtel.

Singapore’s M1 gives 5Mbps for SG$25.20 and 15Mbps for SG$42.90.

Anil, you better ad this in the above blog entry cause the quoted SG$62 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 is much bigger! SG42.90 VS RM249


Gerakan K

As a businessman, I know some common principles of pricing mechanism. Before arguing who can give cheaper rate, please calculate (if you can count) the total cost to wire-up Singapore with fiber network vs Malaysia total cost. Then the network’s expected capacity and scalability. How many network exchanges needed in Singapore vs Malaysia ??? Anyway you want free service ??? Then just surf the web in McDonald.


With a bit common sense which you seem lack of it, one-time fiber or copper wire installation cost in Malaysia or Japan will not add up 450% extra cost than Singapore or Hong Kong.

Have you made comparison with much bigger countries like China and USA? Googled it to enlighten yourself that their broadband pricing is also much lower than Bolehland albeit they got larger areas to wire up.

I’m very sure with international open tender for HSBB project, the project total bidding price will be cut drastically to 50-70%.


Gerakan K, Bro, how can you compare the size of the Singapore and Peninsular, forget East Malaysia, as BN had … neglected them so that they will forever be slaves to BN. What about the population ratio? Malaysia has a far bigger market catch for TM if they are competitive, but, as usual, TM still wants to do things its way, as in Malaysia they are “KING” because of monopoly and NEP and what can ordinary Malaysians like us do? The most affected and manipulated will again be the Malays, Ibans and Kadazans. TM like all Malaysian conglomerates, just want… Read more »


my foot! RM 149++ to watch so called free 22 TV channels. they think malaysian got no other job rather than watching tv? seriously this is brainless act from goverment. i terminated the endless connection problem streamyx last year. very sluggish and slobbish service from TM. they will never improve as long as they operate like goverment style. most of their officers at kedai telekom can’t even converse well in english.


The download cap is unethical and made worst by saying that it is “fair usage policy”. If there is not enough bandwidth, how do they cater for the high-end users if everybody opts for it, the reasoning is as simple as that. It is just a lousy and cheap marketing ploy to get people to take up the more expensive package just as is found in every industry, from mobile phone SPs to insurance to airlines.


They impose the download cap for a simple reason — TM has opted to NOT sign up enough Net backbones for their users. There are only 4 Net backbones connecting Malaysia to the world, comparing to Singapore, which is connected to more than 20 Net backbones. Try pinging USA or Australia or England, for example, and you get results like 200 to 300 ms. But if you do the same thing in Singapore, you would get 100 ms or less. Reason is simple. In Singapore, the connection between a Singapore user to servers located elsewhere in the world will take… Read more »


“Try pinging USA or Australia or England, for example, and you get results like 200 to 300 ms.” Ping times to USA are much more reliable than to UK. I frequently see 400+ms to the UK, with terrible throughput. I often wonder if traffic is being transparently routed to the UK via the USA. Even with global warming I doubt the length of the cable is changing that much. “But if you do the same thing in Singapore, you would get 100 ms or less.” Really? Singapore to Texas is about 16000km. Ping is round-trip time, so 32000km/100ms = 3.2e+8,… Read more »


“Ping times to USA are much more reliable than to UK. I frequently see 400+ms to the UK, with terrible throughput.” The reason is very simple. When you ping USA, the signal can travel through one of the 3 gateways that connects Malaysia to the world outside. But when you ping Europe, the signal travels through one of two possible routes – either from Penang or Malacca, – with one of them having a throughput of less than 1 Gbps. Do a trace route forensic, just like the one explained on this site — http://www.kahunaburger.com/2009/04/07/google-earth-forensics/ — and you will see… Read more »

Gerakan K

I like this high speed broadband. I can download tons of movies and software almost within a day with that speed.

Yes, the government has done the good job that contributing to IT industry. Now we can host our website inside our office/home.

Boon for ecommerce and webmaster in Malaysia.

Thankyou BN !!!

I also wish the government make the Malaysian version PayPal that can accept credit card payment without a maintenance fee or volume requirement


Gerakan K, Just where are you in this discussion? You told me this morning you are very proud of your BN Government, and HSBB and what not? Read the above, they are fleecing us again? Come on Gerakan K, what is all these about? What is your say? As far as TDM is in the picture, the people will continued to be (squeezed), and PM had taken the cue and will continue to (squeezed). Why can’t these ISP be a little bit smart and not make a fool of themselves? Now people are so mobile, work for your profits/margins by… Read more »

Gerakan K

Actually I welcome both LIMs to repeat what this blog owner have said in press conference. Surely it will benefit the rocket and its team. Try it as soon as possible. The get the greatest impact, let the de facto leader done it!!!


Apa lu cakap???

Oh, btw, you forgot to take the medicine?

Gerakan K

Don’t jealous man. I know you can’t afford Unifi and still sticking with dialup. That is fine as long as you can surf the net.


TM High Speed Broadband pricing is too high for Malaysians! The excitement of TM high speed broadband annoucement by PM Najib comes too short for laymen in the street. Why? Below is broadband pricing from M1 Singapore, where TM is a major shareholder. http://www.m1.com.sg/M1/site/M1Corp/menuitem.e2f30a2a1a1860b609b422103f2000a0/?vgnextoid=b1248167a78ba110VgnVCM100000695a230aRCRD&vgnextfmt=pdate:1003261838: For home user, upload speed is less important than download speed. Also, firstly let forget Singapore GDP per capita is four times bigger than Malaysia, hence I compare both pricing in absolute value. Let compare 5Mbps package, M1 package is RM60 per month, where TM Unifi 5Mbps is RM149 (bandwidth limited to 60G per month) and… Read more »


@rthur – there’s absolutely no real alternative to capping and fair usage policies. How many cars are there in Malaysia? Would you expect KL to provide public parking places for that many cars? While there’s currently no quota for parking in KL at the moment, I think if we all tried to on the same day, martial law would be declared! I’d imagine those countries who are more likely to offer ‘unlimited’ deals will be the same countries who are more aggressively clamping down (7-figure fines, banned from using Internet, imprisonment) on digital rights. If non-free movies, music, images and… Read more »


“I’d imagine those countries who are more likely to offer ‘unlimited’ deals will be the same countries who are more aggressively clamping down (7-figure fines, banned from using Internet, imprisonment) on digital rights.” Citation please, or stop your …. “If non-free movies, music, images and software is removed from the list of your unlimited download wishlist, what is left?” Huh? So Internet is for downloading free movies, music, images and software only? Izzat Internet is for? My, my, for the years I’ve been using the Net before it was known as “Internet”, oh my, how interesting to know that you… Read more »


Iron Just so you know, before I came to Malaysia I didn’t know much about the Web (the inter-connected *documents* that really made the whole thing take off). I designed control systems for robots and instruments for the nuclear industry, and lectured part-time in algorithms and complexity. When I came to Malaysia to reproduce (that’s the short version), I thought I’d be able to tie up a few loose research ends and brought a box of designs and instruments with me with the intention of prototyping some ideas. And then my phone didn’t work properly for 3 years. That focussed… Read more »


Last time I heard, Malaysia’s “broadband” isn’t broadband enough. This is what you get when morons run the country.


How I admire those living in Hongkong !


“City Telecom’s 400,000 customers pay $13 a month for 100 megabit synchronous broadband. And they get a money-back guarantee: If they don’t clock 80% of the promised speed, the company pays them twice their monthly fee.”

How I wish I own Streamyx.

I then can fire every single Streamyx employee and hire those from City Telecom’s from Hong Kong.


As long this morons manage the country … we will be
pressed to the bottom. Do what need to do long ago on
GE13. The time had reached the limits. That’s all.


More info, Anil ! http://news.cnet.com/8601-30686_3-10465098-2.html?communityId=2138&targetCommunityId=2138&blogId=266 “Living in Japan means there is ready access to 100Mbps, which is the standard for home internet service. It’s quick and it costs about $45-$50 a month” “I live in Korea and I usually connect in or around 100Mb’s and that’s bi-directional as far as I can tell. I pay just under $30 a month and that comes with roving WIFI. In fact I am using that WIFI now. My service provider hopes to upgrade the current system to 1 Gb’s by 2012.” “While in Japan I had a 100Mbps symmetrical fiber connection in my… Read more »


I picked the two cheapest (maybe Virgin is even cheaper, but I found conflicting reports of its prices) in the UK on my blog: http://blog.lolyco.com/sean/2010/03/26/the-one-theme-again-1malaysia-unifi-monopoly/ TalkTalk were RM35 for up to 24Mbit/s, BT (what was British Telecommunications) offers a 20Mbit/s connection for RM80. Using Wikipedia’s IMF GDP per capita figures to get a ratio of MY/UK = 0.2, then a UK Internet customer would ‘feel’ like they were paying RM7 per month for 24Mbit/s, RM16 per month for 20Mbit/s. I couldn’t find a figure for national average salary for Malaysia, but if the ‘only 10% pay income tax’ rumour is… Read more »


Anil, your ajax editor is so slow !

In fact, I spent more time waiting for it to load than the time used to google the above results !!!