I Fin U

Malaysia’s largest ISP – TMNet – has just launched the much awaited High-speed Broadband (HSBB) services in Malaysia. These include things like fibre-to-the-home technology that allows one to have a very high speed connection to the Internet. The initial packages have been announced to be 5Mbps@RM149, 10Mbps@RM199 and 20Mbps@RM249.

But wait, there is a catch – a really big one.

One might think that having such a high speed is excellent for streaming videos off the Internet. I can certainly imagine myself watching more YouTube and TED videos. It would also be excellent for downloading games such as from the PlayStation Network and other online stores. However, it’s all wishful thinking on our parts.

Our national ISP has decided to screw its HSBB customers in the behind by imposing a cap.

The whole idea of having a high-speed broadband service is to bring information into the home. I’m sure that it was the main thrust of the programme drafted out by our government. By bringing the Internet into more households in Malaysia (50% penetration target), we would be able to bring knowledge right into the door-steps and our kids would be able to get the best exposure to all kinds of information around the world.

But our dreams have been crushed.

With a 60GB cap a month for the 5Mbps line, it essentially works out to be 2GB per day. Now, if we were truly utilising the 5Mbps bandwidth, we would hit the cap with just 53 minutes of downloading a day. Think about that for a minute. You may think that this is actually quite fair but you are assuming that there is only one person using the internet per household.

Let us think of a typical scenario, of a unit family with two parents and two kids. The boy wants to download and play the latest games, the girl wants to watch her favourite series on YouTube, the parents want to use the Internet to shop, work and for business. Consider also for a moment that YouTube videos are already in the process of being streamed in high-definition. The games played online already incorporate voice and some video team-play. Our online applications are becoming ever more flash-based which sucks up bandwidth.

This means that the caps are useless.

We may have a big pipe coming into the houses, but our water is being rationed. One wonders, what is the point of having the big pipes and what did the taxpayers actually pay for. I am so not excited about this development.

PS: You get more download with a 1Mbps ADSL subscription. If you saturate your ADSL, you can actually download 10GB of data per day, with no cap.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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