The government will study the existing rate for broadband services so that its usage can be widened and would not pose a burden to users, said Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, Information Communication and Culture Minister

He said that in this context, the ministry would compare the rate with the existing rates in several countries such as Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

“The ministry will find a way so that the charges for Internet and broadband services in Malaysia are affordable and do not pose a burden to the users,” he said at a media conference after a special programme with Radio Klasik Nasional at Wisma Radio, Angkasapuri today.

He said although the discussion on the payment rate was not welcomed by the service providers, the ministry was committed to reducing the charges so that more people could use the service.

“We hope the charges for Internet and broadband services in Malaysia can be brought down so that they will be more affordable… as such, all service providers must discharge their social responsibility to achieve the government’s aspiration,” he said.

Rais said that using the number of households as an index for broadband penetration in Malaysia which had been the case for the past 10 years was no longer practical now.

The minister said broadband penetration should not be focused on the number of households only but should also consider the number of users of mobile telephones and computers which had now reached 28 million.

“Using the number of households to calculate the broadband penetration index had been practised in Korea for the past 10 years and Malaysia had also used the same method. So we (Malaysia) too used the number of households which was six million (then) to determine the broadband penetration index in the country.

“We did not reject it, in fact, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had also recorded the rate of broadband penetration at 31 per cent based on the figure of six million households.

Although the usage of handphones and computers had been increasing, he said it was strange that both these gadgets were not being used as a data to gauge the rate of broadband penetration now.

He said using the handphones as an index or indicator would be more accurate as there were now 28 million users of handphones in Malaysia and it could be said that most of them used handphones with the 3G service, which meant that the use of the broadband had increased.

In another development, Rais announced that the government would construct more than 1,000 transmission towers of various sizes throughout the country this year to increase the penetration of broadband services in the country.

He said the erection of the towers under the supervision of the MCMC would contribute towards increasing the broadband penetration rate in several areas in Sabah, Sarawak, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu which was still below 15 per cent currently. — Bernama