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Malaysian ISPs: struggling to keep pace

By Julian Matthews
June 11, 1999

Intel CEO Craig Barrett, on a recent visit to Kuala Lumpur, graded Malaysia's Internet access performance a poor "C".

He based this on the fact that the country had only two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and a users-per-population ratio of 2.5 percent, compared to 15 percent in other countries in Asia.

Malaysia also received a "B Minus" for total international bandwidth which, at only 243 Mbps, lagged behind continent leader South Korea with 518 Mbps.

Barrett said Malaysia needed at least a four-fold increase in bandwidth to be that ideal natural data carrier that it aspires to be through its Multimedia Super Corridor initiative.

He noted that while the country was moving in the right direction strategy-wise, it still lacked widespread points of presence (POPs), strong players to enable the local market, and richer and more relevant local content.

Barrett's report card had in effect graded Malaysia as an average slowpoke in the new global Internet economy, where only the fast survive and thrive.

In the last few years since the Net caught on in Malaysia, the services of the two ISPs, Jaring and TMnet, have often been found wanting. Irate subscribers have heaped a barrage of complaints including poor access, constant line drops, lack of technical support and missing mail.

Understandably, like ISPs the world over, neither was prepared for the initial explosive surge of interest in getting online by the public.



Julian Matthews is the Malaysian correspondent for CNET Malaysia. Email us your comments.


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