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Malaysia's broadband access most expensive in APAC

Telecom operators in Malaysia chalk up highest Ethernet broadband circuit cost within Asia-Pacific region where consumer demand for higher bandwidth continues to grow, according to a study.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Malaysia telecom operators paid the most for their Ethernet broadband lines in the Asia-Pacific region while their peers in Hong Kong enjoyed the lowest access bills, according to a recent study by the Asia-Pacific Carriers' Coalition (APCC).

Released on Jun. 14, the survey revealed that Malaysia topped four out of five categories--differentiated by network speeds--covering Ethernet broadband monthly rental and installation costs. It was second highest in the fifth category, revealed the study.

For instance, the monthly rental and installation cost for 2Mbps circuit would cost an operator in Malaysia US$4,564 but only US$374 in Hong Kong.

Surpassing Thailand, which was ranked second in the study, Malaysia had the costliest local Internet access lines in the Asia-Pacific region.

Only countries with the top two most costly bills, as well as the country with the lowest access bill, were ranked.

The study showed that Singapore, which was the costliest for telecom providers when the survey was last conducted in 2006, dropped down the list this year. However, the Republic was still "two to three times" more expensive than the cheapest country, Hong Kong.

The report also stated that demand for Ethernet broadband access has not only "continued to rise" but the demand for higher bitrates is also increasing. This upward trend is reflected by the availability of information, compared to previous years, on carriers requesting for 10Gbps access circuits.

The study, which Telecommunications Research Project Corporate (TRPC) was commissioned to conduct, gathered information from seven international carriers and looked at three forms of access platforms: Ethernet, leased lines and DSL (digital subscriber line).

For Ethernet broadband cost, the survey covered 13 countries--in which the seven carriers offered Ethernet services--and assessed the monthly rental and installation costs of various Ethernet access speeds: 2Mbps, 10Mbps, 50Mbps, 10Mbps, 1Gbps and 10Gbps.

Leased lines were "the most widely used leased circuits across Asia-Pacific", according to the APCC study.

Of the 14 regional countries surveyed for leased lines access, nine countries saw their costs reduced in real terms since 2006. The five countries that bucked the trend were Malaysia, India, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.

"We are disappointed to note that local access charges have risen in real terms in five countries since 2006," said APCC President Simon Smith. "Our members continue to experience challenges in obtaining competitive local access price charges, which are often disproportionate to charges for an end-to-end international service."

Smith called for "fair" local access charges as these were a "critical requirement" for the creation of a competitive communications environment.

He also encouraged regulators in the markets reviewed to "take the necessary and appropriate regulatory action" to lower access pricing.

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