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Malaysia, Science And Tech

New Straits Times
Saturday, May 17, 2014

Malaysia, Science And Tech

Malaysia a model for Internet affordability

New Straits Times | Saturday, May 17, 2014

Malaysia is ranked No. 1 among the top five emerging countries for Internet affordability.

This was reported in the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) - The Affordability Report 2013.

Malaysia beat 46 developing countries on the affordability of broadband with 68.6 per cent, followed by Mauritius with 65.5 per cent, Brazil 58 per cent, Peru 56.4 per cent and Colombia 55 per cent.

The report acknowledges Malaysia as a model on how rapid development can be achieved with technology by having progressive monitoring that stimulates the demand and service of broadband.

It said that Malaysia had focused on expanding 3G infrastructure through public-private partnership while reducing infrastructure cost.

This had increased access via the provision of subsidised training and equipment to low-income communities, funded by a Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF).

A case study on Malaysia shows how Malaysia used a three-pronged approach to stimulate demand, focusing on awareness, attractiveness and affordability.

"Malaysia's results have been impressive. Today, more than four in five people are covered by 3G signals, while over 3.7 million are mobile broadband subscribers and more than 63 per cent of household have Internet connection.

"By 2015, Malaysia targets to ensure that three-quarters of households have broadband connection.

"These programmes are funded mostly by the USPF, whereby all licence holders pay six per cent of net revenue to the USPF."

The report added the high levy highlighted the effective and systematic use of USPF to make an impact on access and usage of broadband.

The goal of the A4AI report is to achieve a UN Broadband Commission target of entry-level broadband services priced at less than five per cent of average family income, which would enable billions of people to go online.

In the report, it shows the key to affordability is the policy and regulatory environment that shapes incentives for the market.

Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Broadband Management division head Nor Akmar Shah Minan said accessibility and affordability of broadband service had been at the forefront of the government's effort.

She said there were efforts to roll out services to improve coverage quality through public-private partnership with telecommunication companies.

"We do share some of the targets in our key performance index under the Economic Transformation Programme in the National Key Results Areas.

"We get telecommunication companies to address requirements on broadband coverage and quality of service.

Nor Akmar stressed, if all these criteria are met, the government will consider providing incentives to them as an encouragement to the telco companies to provide better services to the public.

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