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Chat network ban

72-hour deadline

A unanimous vote

An ISP divided

CNET Asia Coverage Of Unfolding Events

Aug 18
Major chat network bans all Malaysian users

Aug 20
Malaysia domain the "most abusive" in the world for chatting

Aug 23
Malaysia's TMnet appeals to lift chat network ban

Aug 26
Undernet rejects Malaysia's TMnet offer to host local chat server

Sept 1
Malaysian ISP Jaring to scan users following abuse

Sept 7
Malaysia's TMnet users permanently banned

Sept 8
Malaysia's TMnet delivers ultimatum to abusers

Sept 16
Malaysian university hackers identified as chat abuse culprits

An ISP divided

Meanwhile, Abdul Majid told CNET Asia that TMnet recognized its problems and was taking steps to address them. "We take all complaints and comments from the customers positively and as a guideline for our future multimedia services. As an immediate measure, we have increased the number of support personnel on duty at any one time to ensure more calls are entertained," he said.

Abdul Majid said that the shortage of authentication servers compared to the rise in growth of subscribers was the main reason for poor access in the northern region in the states of Kedah, Perak and Penang.

"We have added two extra authentication servers which we believe for the moment will overcome the problem, and for connectivity we are in the process of installing more POPs (points of presence), which will be parallel to our marketing plans," he said.

TMnet currently has three T3 lines to the U.S. comprising a total bandwidth of 135Mbps, with another T3 line to be completed by the end of the year. "Additionally, there will be more regional peering that will be in place soon," said Abdul Majid.

Despite the assurances, sources close to the ISP have indicated that TMnet's problems stem from poor internal decision-making.

"We were getting customers faster than we could upgrade the infrastructure. Although the growth was anticipated, the people holding the purse strings were not willing to make the decisions," said the source.

The source also added that managerial bickering and political infighting were preventing the right technical decisions from being made at the expense of the ISP's long-term development. The source cited the recent purchase of a batch of 56Kbps modems from Bay Networks, a business unit of Nortel Networks, worth US$4 million, to be deployed nationwide to relief congestion.

The model 5399 series Bay Networks product is no longer being developed or supported by its manufacturers. But it was chosen anyway, despite the fact that other technically superior products were on the market.

"Management disagreed with the expressed product choice of its technical staff, so 'obsolete' equipment will be deployed and will eventually lead to more problems in the network," the source added.

Such tales do not bode well for an ISP that touts itself as the largest in Southeast Asia and whose management team is playing a central role in developing the network infrastructure and global linkages for Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor project.

The ban on Malaysian users was perhaps targeted to force local ISPs to root out abusers of the Internet chat service. But ironically, and more importantly, it may have uncovered the fact that the abusers were not the only ones who needed lessons in effective communication.



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