Date: Fri, 28 Mar 97 18:22:58 CST
From: (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Malaysia Keeps Tight Control Over Internet Providers
/** headlines: 183.0 **/
** Topic: MYS: KL Keeps Tight Control Over Internet Providers **
** Written 9:57 AM Mar 27, 1997 by newsdesk in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 7:26 AM Mar 27, 1997 by in */
/* ---------- "MYS: KL keeps tight control over In" ---------- */
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## author : bardsley@ACCESS.DIGEX.NET
## date : 24.02.97
[This article has been excerpted.]

Malaysia Keeps Tight Control Over Internet Providers

By Michael Bociurkiw, in Asia Times,
24 February, 1997

Kuala Lumpur, 24 Feb. 1997 (Asia Times): In an apparent reversal of an avowed policy to allow the Internet to flourish, Malaysia...closed the door on expanding the Internet service provider (ISP) market.

Energy, Telecommunications and Posts Minister Leo Moggie, who announced the decision...Friday, said the government did not want to repeat the experience it had with the mobile telephone market, where several players had been allowed to compete for a limited customer base.

"We have to be careful as we do not want to repeat the concerns we had when there were so many communications licences given to the companies. Through that experience, we decided to approach this matter with caution," Moggie said.

Additional ISPs would not be allowed until there was evidence of more demand, he added.

Industry insiders are speculating...the freeze could only be temporary given the high increase in subscribers in Malaysia and the imminent launch of the country's much-touted information technology hub, the Multimedia Super Corridor.

Until recently, the Malaysian Institute of Microelectronic Systems (MIMOS) - which is under the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment - was the sole provider of Internet services in Malaysia through its Jaring network. ...late last year, the government allowed Telekom Malaysia to launch its own service, known as TMNet.

Still, in relative terms, Malaysia has among the lowest number of ISPs in Asia. Singapore has three, while Thailand, Hong Kong and the Philippines each have several.

Malaysia has among the highest Internet growth rates in Asia. MIMOS estimated there were more than 30,000 subscribers in early 1996, and perhaps as many as 100,000 users. By the end of 1997, the country could have as many 300,000 subscribers.

Industry sources close to TMNet say they are registering close to 300 new subscribers a day.

Another telecommunications company, Time Telecommunications, ...just introduced a high-speed leased line network, Time NetLink, which provides businesses access to the Internet. The service is limited to subscribers located in buildings with links to Time's leased lines.

Industry sources said at least one more Malaysian company was to have entered the general ISP market. A consortium between a leading network provider and a top-ranked system integrator is believed to have been next in line for an ISP licence.

Most observers agree Malaysia's Internet market requires an infusion of expertise as well as more competition. Jaring has been widely criticized for providing spotty coverage and service, and TMNet's security system has been breached twice by a computer hacker.


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