Telekom Malaysia's fibre rollout offers more than NZ telcos

PC World editor Zara Baxter describes how the Malaysian telco is rolling out fibre

Telekom Malaysia is rolling out a triple-play fibre service for NZ $60 a month across Malaysia. PC World editor Zara Baxter visited the home of network architect Peter Macauley to learn more. Telekom Malaysia’s triple-play offer provides consumers with a set-top box for TV, a modem/router for broadband and wi-fi, and a phone for voice capability. This costs 249 Malaysian Ringgit per month - approximately $60 - and provides 100 pay TV channels for free at 20Mbps, including 30 in HD, as well as 120GB data. Macauley points out that the 120GB has an asterisk - the plan cap is not actually implemented yet, and he told us of subscribers who are using up to 5TB per month without additional cost.

Macauley’s house already has fibre, so how much does it cost for a homeowner to get a fibre connection installed?

Telekom Malaysia has around 500 teams of two technicians that perform installations. It’s free on a 24-month plan (with MR500 termination fee - around $120), for up to 30 metres of fibre laid. The two technicians come to your property, and connect an RBU (what is known in New Zealand as an Optical Network Terminal) from the roadside cabinet. This usually involves drilling a hole through the wall - most homes in Malaysia are concrete - and then running a tiny fibre cable, which has tape pre-applied, along your skirting board. Also, during the installation the copper is not pulled out. Telekom Malaysia can afford the free installations by managing how they are installed - essentially, they run fibre to a single point in the home, which holds the RBU. The set top box, phone and wifi modem/router can be extended up to six feet from the termination point, but they are co-located. Telekom Malaysia then tests each service to ensure it is working, and only once they have confirmed that all aspects are operating as expected are the technicians paid for the job. Payment is deducted from their fee if callbacks are required to finalise set-up.

This set-up means that Telekom Malaysia clearly delineates which aspects of the service are their responsibility. If you want to extend your network beyond the point that was originally designated, you can, but Telekom Malaysia is not responsible for troubleshooting that extension.

It was interesting to see a set-up where 30 metres is paid for - essentially mimicking the installation set-up for Ultra Fast Broadband in New Zealand, but with the provider footing the bill. Telekom Malaysia is not only the infrastructure owner and wholesaler, it is also a retailer. In New Zealand, the UFB providers Chorus, Enable, Northpower and Ultra Fast Fibre, perform the installation and are subsidised by government but they are prohibited from becoming retail providers. * Baxter visited Malaysia as a guest of Huawei.

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