Technology October 4, 2007, 9:46AM EST
Malaysia to Get High Speed Broadband
According to Business Week, The Malaysia government will fund 30% of the proposed multibillion project, which will be built by Telekom Malaysia
by Lee Min Keong
Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak last week unveiled plans to embark on an ambitious initiative to roll out high-speed broadband services across the country. The government official also revealed that incumbent fixed-line carrier Telekom Malaysia (TM) has been awarded the mega broadband project.
Targeted to cover 2.2 million premises, the project is estimated to cost 15.2 billion ringgit (US$4.46 billion) over 10 years, Najib was quoted to say in local news reports.
"We have asked the Finance Ministry to verify the figure, which includes the cost of 'last-mile' fiber, core network and [improvements to] international connectivity," Najib told local reporters.
State-owned TM has been directed to start initial work on the project, though deployment of the physical infrastructure is likely to come only six months after the partnership agreement has been signed. The government is targeting to ink the agreement as soon as possible, Najib said.
The country's deputy premier explained that the Cabinet Committee on Broadband, which he heads, chose to partner TM because the telco already owns an existing infrastructure. This, he said, would allow additional investment to be done on a lower cost basis and at a faster speed.
"We want the [new high-speed broadband] service to be rolled out quickly and in a cost-efficient manner, so that Malaysia would not be left behind in terms of competitive edge," he added.
Najib left open the possibility for other telcos to get a dip in the project, though he noted that the role of these industry players would only be determined later.
STUDYING THE COSTAccording to local reports, the government had commissioned consultant firm McKinsey & Co. to conduct a feasibility study, which estimated that an investment of 15 billion ringgit (US$4.4 billion) would be required to lay fiber-optic lines to every home in Malaysia's major urban areas. To reach every home in the country, this investment will need to increase to 53 billion ringgit (US$15.55 billion).