Saturday, December 19, 2015

Improving the Internet services is amongst my top priority 

Salleh Said Keruak 

I have told my officers that I am not satisfied with the Internet service in Malaysia. According to the latest State of the Internet (SOTI) report, Malaysians are amongst the most globally connected people. However, while we can be proud of the Internet usage, and to a certain extent the coverage as well, there is still much to be desired as far as Internet speed is concerned. 

Today, in many countries the world over, and that applies to Malaysia as well, the Internet is the backbone of the economy. Most of the business and communication are done on the Internet. In some countries more sales are done on the Internet compared to walk-in sales while the online news has overtaken the print news. 

Malaysia’s Internet service needs to be at par with or better than the other countries and this is amongst my top priority. The government is aiming for a target of at least 95% Internet coverage by the year 2020 and this is what my Ministry has been told work on. And the focus has to be in the rural areas as well and not just in the urban or populated areas. More importantly, speed and not just coverage needs to also be taken into consideration. 

A target of 95% Internet penetration, which will include 55% high-speed Internet, is a very ambitious target. However, with proper planning and backed with a suitable budget this can be achieved. It will also require investments in new and state-of-the-art technology. 

It is not enough, however, that we talk just about coverage and speed. Affordability is also a crucial factor. It is no use developing the Internet service and offering more coverage and better speed if the cost is beyond the reach of the consumer. So price would be very much a factor in our planning. 

I have asked my officers to come back with some details and until I can see these details I will not be able to give a timeframe as to when all this can be completed. But it must not go beyond the five years till 2020 target that has been set. This has been made clear to all concerned and we are committed into achieving it. 

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