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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     28 October  2011

Malaysian schools to get wired

YTL Communications Sdn Bhd (YTL Comms) is the frontrunner for the RM1.5billion (US$483 million) 1Bestarinet project that involves wiring up schools in the country, sources said.

YTL Comms may have edged out 18 other players, including a joint bid by Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) and Time dotCom Bhd (TDC) for the 1Bestarinet tender. The project involves providing Internet access and a virtual learning (VLM) platform for 9,924 schools in the country from January.

Sources said on Tuesday at about 1pm the YTL Comms' name appeared as the winner of the contract on the Education Ministry's website but two hours later the announcement was taken off the website for reasons unknown.

A proof of concept is required before YTL Comms can embark on the first phase by rolling out access to at least 7,000 schools by Jan 1, 2012. Sources said the success rate of the proof of concept would be the determinant to the company bagging the contract or else another party will be chosen.

The contract is for a five-year period, with an option to extend for another five plus five years, totalling 15 years, and this would include installation, maintenance and provision of a VLM.

Some have expressed surprise that YTL was the frontrunner.

Said an industry player: “If indeed they are the winner, it is shocking as they are an unproven service provider. They also do not have fibre so how are they going to offer the services?”

The industry player also pointed out that the tender specifications for 1Bestarinet seemed vague and cautioned that he hoped the project would not suffer the same problems faced by a similar project in the past called Schoolnet.

1Bestarinet came about as a result of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit national key economic area lab series as there is a need to provide Internet access to all schools in the country since the earlier project to wire up schools, Schoolnet, did not meet the objectives set.

For 1Bestarinet, the Internet speed has to be constant and cannot be based on “best effort.'' For urban areas, the access speed is 2Mbps to 10Mbps, and for rural and remote schools 1Mbps to 4Mbps.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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