PUTRAJAYA, Oct 27 — The household broadband penetration rate in the country topped 53 per cent in mid-October, exceeding the target for 2010 said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today.
The deputy prime minister said it was an encouraging achievement as the household broadband penetration rate was only 22 per cent in 2008.
“This achievement is the result of cooperation between the private sector and the government including the leadership that cares about broadband for all citizens,” said Muhyiddin at a press conference after a Cabinet committee on broadband meeting.
He said various initiatives will be implemented to further increase broadband penetration including building more Community Broandband Centres, and expanding the number of Kampung WiFis from 6 to 3100 by 2014.
While the broadband penetration rate may be rising, the nation is still grappling with issues such as speed and cost.
Malaysia was ranked 102 out of 152 countries in terms of average download speed by leading internet speed testing website speedtest.net
Its average download speed of 1.88mbps is 18 times slower than that of top ranked South Korea.
As of July, more than 100,000 of a planned 1 million locally manufactured laptops costing below RM1,000 that come with broadband subscriptions, have been distributed to students in rural areas and from low income households said Muhyiddin.
Asked about the possibility that students are selling the laptops instead of using them, the deputy prime minister said that the government will look into it.
For the sake of transparency, vendors involved in distributing the laptops will be listed on the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission website.
The next phase of laptop distribution is expected to take 5 months.
When asked about how much is remaining in the Universal Service Provision (USP) Fund, officials from the Cabinet committee said that the fund size is currently about RM4 billion with about RM3.1 billion committed to projects such as building telecommunication towers and community communication centres.
Telecommunication service providers have to contribute 6 per cent of their annual income to the fund — amounting to between RM700 million to RM800 annually — which is then used to implement communication projects for rural and underserved communities.