Gobind: Govt instructs 25% cut for broadband charges

MCMC implements the MSAP since June 8, 2018, which would result in reductions in fixed broadband prices


The government has instructed fixed broadband operators to slash prices by at least 25% by year-end as part of the administration’s efforts to bring the cost down for the service, which has become a daily necessity.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has implemented the Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP) since June 8, 2018, which would result in reductions in fixed broadband prices.

The MSAP stipulates the ceiling wholesale prices that can be charged by service providers for the facilities and services used by the retail telco players.

“Lowering wholesale prices should translate to lower retail prices for consumers, enabling more Malaysians to enjoy better Internet for a cheaper price,” Gobind said in Putrajaya yesterday.

The minister said relevant parties are currently in discussions to finalise the wholesale prices. The process is expected to be completed by August this year.

“After the discussions are finalised, the new lower-priced broadband packages are expected to be rolled out to consumers,” he said.

The MSAP was slated for enforcement in Jan 1 this year. But it was put on hold after an appeal by Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) to revise some of the pricing components proposed by the MSAP.

“There were some discus- sions on TM’s appeal, but we have decided to enforce it now — but effective from the actual date of Jan 1,” Gobind said.

He had also instructed MCMC to consider other options available which would further reduce broadband service charges.

“I have further instructed MCMC to monitor broadband prices in Malaysia to ensure affordable entry level packages are offered to Malaysians,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gobind announced that MCMC will carry out an independent audit on two funds under the ministry’s control — which controls a total fund size of RM9.3 billion.

The MCMC Fund and the Universal Service Provision (USP) Fund will be audited by a yet-to-be appointed independent auditor to clarify the usage and effectiveness of the funds.

The MCMC Fund of RM800 million is used for the financial requirements of MCMC, while the USP Fund is used to bridge the digital divide particularly by providing communications and Internet access to underserved areas — including rural areas and underserved groups — mainly through infrastructure projects.

Telcos contribute a compulsory 6% of their weighted net revenue towards these funds which are managed by MCMC.

“The purpose of this audit is to verify the said accounts and to enhance transparency over the use of the funds in the past.

“I will be making an announcement on the appointed auditor and the timeline of the audit process,” said Gobind.