Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, has revealed that negotiations are currently underway to bring Space X’s Starlink satellite broadband service to Malaysia. As highlighted recently, Starlink is now available in 32 countries and it is expected to cover Malaysia in 2023.
We look forward to welcoming @SpaceX and Starlink’s presence in Malaysia for the best satellite internet service that Malaysians can enjoy to be more productive, innovative, efficient and competitive; enabling robust connectivity facilities for users across the country. pic.twitter.com/Gw0Zao7MtT— Mohamed Azmin Ali 🇲🇾 (@AzminAli) May 18, 2022
According to a report by The Edge Markets, Azmin said there are several matters that were still being considered by the government on Starlink’s policy-related proposals to introduce internet service. He shared that the government has scrutinised some of the proposals by Starlink and their representatives will be coming to Malaysia next week. Azmin hopes that the proposals can be finalised in the near future as they are ready to come to Malaysia.
The Minister told TV3 in an interview that Space X is looking at expanding its supply chain among local companies. He said with the investments, they would need the support of a wider supply chain and this would benefit Malaysian companies to get involved in space technology in the near future.
Azmin also said Starlink’s ethos of “Connecting the Unconnected” is aligned to Malaysia’s aspiration towards narrowing the digital divide and ensuring every individual participates and reaps the benefits of the digital economy. He added that Starlink’s satellite solution provides great potential for Malaysians, elevating access to education, providing more internet-related job opportunities, rapid sharing of information, and more.
Starlink is expected to launch its service in the Philippines by the end of 2022, and it will be its first country in Southeast Asia. It was reported in March that Space X’s business permit application is being processed and they are setting up a wholly-owned subsidiary in the Philippines with the aim of deploying three gateways in the first phase of the launch.
Before Starlink can begin commercial services in Malaysia, it has to obtain a Network Facility or Service Provider license (NFP/NSP) from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). However, the company is now accepting USD 99 (about RM434) deposits from Malaysians who wish to reserve their Starlink service ahead of commercial availability.
In the US, Starlink charges USD 599 (about RM2,629) for the hardware and the monthly subscription costs USD 110 (about RM482). According to Starlink, the service offers download speeds between 100Mbps to 200Mbps with latency as low as 20ms in most locations. At the moment, there are no data caps for its service.
Satellite connectivity is seen as a faster solution to offer high-speed broadband access in rural areas without fixed or mobile connectivity. Under the JENDELA plan, a total of 839 satellite sites have been planned to provide connectivity for interior areas that are difficult to access. As of 31st March 2022, 95.1% or 798 sites have been deployed and they are mostly located in Sabah and Sarawak.
ConnectMe, the satellite service by MEASAT, has been actively deploying its satellite service in rural areas where 4G is not available. The service offers download speeds of up to 30Mbps but latency is high at 500ms which is expected from a geo satellite system. While it isn’t great for online gaming and real-time applications, it is sufficient for video streaming and web browsing.
MEASAT is launching its new MEASAT-3d satellite next month which will provide even higher speeds of up to 100Mbps via Ka-band. The High Throughput Satellite (HTS) has a broadband capacity of 30Gbps, which is 10 times more than the current capacity of 3Gbps. This would allow users to access more data-heavy content including 4K and 8K videos.
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