In Malaysia, investment is needed to eliminate barriers to digital adoption. Increased access to inexpensive, reliable, and high-speed internet is key. It is common practice for internet service providers to offer lagging internet connections (less than 100Mbps) at high prices, with fixed broadband in Malaysia more expensive than in most other ASEAN countries.1 The perceived lack of value has resulted in a slow rate of digitalisation by businesses and a national decline in fixed broadband subscriptions.2
Making broadband more attractive will help unlock the digital economy. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), which regulates the national telecommunications industry, is preparing its National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) in response to the urgent need to improve broadband quality, reduce subscription fees, and expand fibre networks. The plan aims to support the implementation of initiatives that will facilitate and drive the adoption of future technologies.
Increasing competition amongst service providers is also high on the agenda. Malaysia’s fixed broadband market is dominated by Telekom Malaysia, a government linked company that controls over 87 percent of the fixed broadband retail market and a significant part of the national backhaul and international connectivity markets.3 While the mobile broadband market has benefited from competition, mobile service providers are restricted from entering the fixed broadband arena due to high infrastructure costs and other barriers, such as operating licenses and installation approvals.