Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) observed that demand for Internet bandwidth surged in the past few weeks as Malaysians Stay at Home following implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) since March 18, 2020.
The Malaysia Regulator said that the high usage of Internet was due to increased use of video conferencing, learning and online shopping.
Adherence to the Movement Control Order (MCO) by remaining indoors at all times saw 23.5% higher Internet traffic (fixed and mobile broadband) nationwide during the first week of the MCO, while the second week of the MCO saw a further increase of 8.6%. Greater data consumption could create congestion causing speeds to fall, it said. This has affected the user experience whereby longer loading time is observed particularly while consuming bandwidth intensive content such as streaming services on High Definition (HD).
Referring to the Mobile Experience report released by Opensignal during the COVID-19 pandemic, MCMC said Malaysia’s 4G download speeds dropped from 13.4Mbps on average in early February 2020 to an average of 8.8Mbps last week (23 to 29 March). Opensignal said, “In Malaysia all mobile operators are offering 1GB of data for free which likely explains the change in speed that we have seen,”
Similar trends are also being observed globally, where operators around the world are experiencing an unprecedented increase in bandwidth usage due to this behavioural shift.
MCMC claims that local telecommunications and Internet service providers are currently working around the clock to add bandwidth capacity to ensure continued delivery of essential services during the MCO period. The telecommunications industry is working on improving network performance during this time through an additional investment of RM400million for infrastructure and network upgrades, as announced in the Pakej Rangsangan Ekonomi Prihatin Rakyat (PRIHATIN) recently. This includes activities such as:
- Performing network optimisation and radio capacity upgrades at areas with high utilisation;
- Performing traffic readjustment to cater to the rising bandwidth demand at residential premises;
- Upgrading wireless backhaul to fibre optic connections;
- Increasing domestic trunk capacities including laying new fibre optic infrastructure, increasing interconnect bandwidth and releasing reserved capacities;
- Increasing international link capacities; and
- Mobilising portable base stations as well as providing Wi-Fi access points to manage network traffic at critical areas
During this period, MCMC and service providers are working together to monitor the network performance and to facilitate any challenges on the ground faced by service providers in performing their job to deploy additional infrastructure and maintain the Telecommunication sites including approvals from the authorities.
[Source]– MCMC Media Statement