The JENDELA initiative which aims at improving Malaysia’s mobile and fibre connectivity is still on track to deliver its Phase 1 targets by the end of this year. In fact, the Communications and Multimedia Minister (MenKomm) Tan Sri Annuar Musa recently shared that Malaysia’s average mobile speed has exceeded its target with over 40Mbps in Q1 2022. When it comes to fibre, the latest report from the MCMC revealed there are now over 7 million premises passed and that means more Malaysians should be able to get access to fibre broadband that offers faster and reliable internet at lower prices.
JENDELA on track to achieve 7.5 million premises passed with fibre by end 2022
Before JENDELA started, there were less than 5 million premises passed with fibre as of August 2020 and the target is to achieve 7.5 million premises passed by the end of 2022. In just a period of 18 months, a total of 2,070,565 additional premises are now passed with fibre. This is a significant increase as MCMC Chairman Dato Dr. Fadhlullah Suhaimi shared that typically, there are 300,000 premises passed with fibre each year.
As usual, Telekom Malaysia (TM) still leads in fibre deployment in the country. TM’s fibre network currently covers 5.9 million premises and they are entrusted to cover 6 million premises under JENDELA Phase 1. During the early phase of JENDELA, there were 900,000 Streamyx users and the broadband giant has already migrated 600,000 of them to fibre. TM has also recently stopped offering Streamyx to new customers and as of Q4 2021, there are less than 280,000 subscribers remaining on the old ADSL broadband technology.
Besides TM, other telcos are also deploying their own fibre network which includes TIME, Maxis and Celcom Timur. All have achieved their Q1 2022 fibre deliverables except for Maxis which had a shortfall due to a shortage of raw materials for pole fabrication and permitting lead time by state agencies related to OSA. Interestingly, TNB’s Allo is not listed in the JENDELA report but they have targetted to cover 300,000 premises with fibre by the end of 2022.
Premises passed don’t mean homes are directly connected
While having 7 million premises passed sounds great, it doesn’t mean that 7 million homes or offices are directly connected to fibre. In simple terms, premises passed just means that the fibre connection is available in the area but it doesn’t translate to actual ports available.
According to MCMC’s own definition published in a briefing document for NFCP 3, it is stated that a premise is considered covered or passed when it is capable to connect the premise to the FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) in a service area, and a new service activation will only require the installation or connection of a drop cable from the premises passed point. This includes a connection to the fibre distribution point on an aerial, pedestal, riser, MDF or utility-pole.
Dr. Fadhlullah shared during the JENDELA briefing that the industry no longer talks about ports, as it is not conducive from a commercial standpoint. What’s more important is the actual assets on the ground for fibre passed premises. If a consumer is residing in a fibre-passed area and wants fibre broadband, the new service activation must be completed within 14 days. He shared that the current run rate is slightly above 95% and sometimes the shortfall is not entirely on the service provider. It is also dependent on the household and there are some areas where infrastructure adaptation is required.
According to TM’s Chief Strategy Officer Tengku Muneer Tengku Muzani, there will be some issues related to adaptation but TM is committed to getting the fibre broadband service up and running in 14 days. He added that about 5% of customers’ installation may extend beyond the 14 days and they will address each customer on a case by case basis.
It is also worth highlighting that fiberisation not only benefits homes and businesses but also provides connectivity to mobile towers. This is crucial for the 5G rollout which promises to deliver gigabit speeds and low latency to consumers.
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