YTL’s 1BestariNet pact to end mid-2019


YTL Corp Bhd’s contract to operate the Education Ministry’s 1BestariNet project will be terminated in June next year.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching (picture) said the government is currently studying and evaluating the contract, which was awarded to YTL’s unit, YTL Communications Sdn Bhd, for the betterment of the schools around the country.

The contract will not be extended upon its expiry on June 30, 2019, she told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

“We have received so many complaints over the years, so it is time for the Pakatan Harapan government to think of more efficient service providers for the teachers and schools around the country,” she said.

Teo was responding to a question from MP Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) who asked on ways the ministry can ensure that the service provided by YTL meets the requirements of the agreement.

The 1BestariNet project, a RM4 billion project, was introduced to provide Internet connectivity and create a virtual learning environment (VLE) for 10,000 schools nationwide.

It was awarded to a unit of YTL Corp via open-tender, and was introduced during the tenure of the then Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Teo said many had questioned the effectiveness of the project as YTL had failed to meet its key performance indicators as many schools did not enjoy good Internet connections.

“There were numerous complaints on the slow connectivity by users. However, to our surprise, between the period of July 1, 2016, and April 31, 2018, no penalty was imposed on YTL by the previous government,” she stressed.

Teo also stated her hopes on providing high-speed Internet connections to all schools nationwide, but due to its high charges, the government finds it tough to materialise.

“If you’d ask me — I would wish — not just the current 136 schools, but more than 1,000 schools to be equipped with such connection, but it will cost the government RM19,000 per school.

“Of course, we would prefer a 30MB per second (MBps) connection over the six MBps connection that is currently available,” she added.

According to the ministry, as of June 30, 2018, 10,193 schools are provided with Internet access facilities for teaching and learning, as well as management and administration.

Out of those, 9,774 schools were linked to phase two of the 1BestariNet service, while 419 schools were still supplied through other Internet service providers (ISPs).

“At present, 419 schools are not covered by the phase two service as these schools are located within the backhaul fibre area, and are still coupled with copper infrastructure,” Teo said.

On the 1BestariNet Receiver Integrated System, Teo agreed that the base stations located in 1,031 schools nationwide, are charged at a very low rental rate.

“The government collects only RM1,200 a year for each site rental and during phase one from May 1, 2012, to June 31, 2016, the total collection stood at RM515,500.

“We also urge YTL to start paying its own site’s electric charges as we were not allowed to charge them before this,” she said, adding that the government will not longer bare the utility cost.