The Malaysian Government recently announced a new ‘affordable‘ broadband plan, targeted to the low income group.
At RM69 a month for a 30Mbps Internet speeds, the unlimited fixed broadband plan is being offered to the B40 group, army and PDRM veterans, the disabled (OKUs) and senior citizens.
According to the Minister of Communications and Digital, the price of the package offered is 22% cheaper than the current price of the package with the same specifications which is around RM89.00 which means that the people can enjoy savings of RM480 throughout the 24-months contract period.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) involved in the initiative include Telekom Malaysia, CelcomDigi, Maxis and YTL.
But the Big question remains, is this considered an affordable broadband plan in 2023?
This is a commentary and a personal opinion.
Back in February 2023, when the initiative was announced, one reader pointed out on the MalaysianWireless FB that the new plan at RM69/month for 30Mbps looks cheap, but its actually more expensive.
“if TIME 100Mbps = RM99, which is RM0.99 per Mbps. and unifi 100Mbps = RM129, which is RM1.29 per Mbps This one RM69 for 30Mbps, which translate to RM2.3 per Mbps
Looks cheap, but actually more expensive”
In other words, while the RM69 for 30Mbps looks less expensive, consumers are paying a high price per Megabit per second (Mbps) and for a slower speed, compared to other broadband plans.
These lower-income consumers will also be locked to a 24-months contract and this means that they have to commit a payment of RM1,656 for 2 years or face penalty from the ISPs. In the case of Telekom Malaysia (TM), unifi broadband enforces one of the highest penalty in the Industry where a minimum RM1,656 must be paid by these consumers regardless of any reasons for cancellation within 24-months.
Is the Communications Minister saying that low-income consumers who have limited financial resources should commit RM1,656 for 2-years just to enjoy a small savings of RM480?
Is he also saying that these consumer should be locked down with a contract and there won’t be any cheaper broadband plans in the next 2 years?
On the other hand, TIME dotCom took its own initiative to offer a 100Mbps broadband plan for just RM69/month and this translates to a mere 69 sen per Mbps! Unfortunately, the offer is extremely limited to selected Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) residents.
If smaller ISPs like TIME dotCom could offer faster broadband speeds at cheaper price, why can’t Tier-1 capable global ISPs like Telekom Malaysia do the same?
Telekom Malaysia is proud about its 30 submarine cable systems owned and leased spanning more than 320,000km around the globe but it remains one of the most expensive broadband service provider in its Home country.
Why can’t the Minister of Communications and Digital make fixed broadband plans affordable to all? Here are some suggestion for Minister Fahmi Fadzil:
- Fixed broadband plans should start from an average RM50/month for speeds above 50Mbps. It should be made available to EVERYONE.
- No Contract fibre broadband plans without those
crappy, vulnerableWifi routers should be offered by all ISPs. TIME is only ISP to do this at the moment. For consumers who require installation/set-up, the ISPs can offer a one time installation for a fee, if needed.
- MCMC and KKD should regulate the penalty fee of broadband termination. It used to be a fixed fee of RM500 but now the fee is higher with Unifi. Consumers should not be charged a penalty fee if they moved to a house outside the fixed fibre broadband network.
- The 26Ghz and 28Ghz spectrum band allocated for 5G should be fully utilized for Wireless Fibre Broadband service. It should be independent from Telekom Malaysia since every single mobile service provider in Malaysia are heavily dependent on TM.
- No Communication Minister has ever been able to improve MCMC Aduan. Perhaps the new Minister could be the 1st to handle consumer complaints directly? A new Consumer Complaints Task Force should be implemented by KKD since MCMC failed the job. KKD should also accept and investigate consumers complaints on MCMC.
- Encourage and support the expansion of the last mile fibre broadband infrastructure by Allo Technology (Tenaga Nasional) and TIME dotCom. Consumers in Malaysia should be given more choices and not be locked to the Telekom Malaysia broadband infrastructure.
RM69 for 30Mbps? This probably feels right if we are in the year 2013.
Looking forward to 2Gbps speeds in 2023.
This is a commentary. The views/comments/opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the view of MalaysianWireless.