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August 10, 2008

Malaysia’s govt may postpone $3.4b broadband deal
Malaysia’s government is likely to postpone the signing of a high-speed broadband deal, worth about $3.43, with state-run Telekom Malaysia, said Reuters on Saturday.

Reuters quoted a source as saying the two parties were originally scheduled to ink the 11.3 billion ringgit ($3.43 billion) high-speed broadband agreement on August 14 but the Malaysian government is expected to postpone the signing for the second time in two months after the cancellation of a July 1 signing.

“The cabinet committee chaired by the deputy prime minister wants to look at other options after a company came out with a proposal which they said would be cheaper,” the source, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.

The high-powered committee, which oversees the development of the country’s broadband network, is expected to meet on Aug. 20 to discuss a proposal brought up by private firm High Speed Broadband Technology Sdn Bhd (HSBT), the source said.

Earlier media reports have said HSBT, which is controlled by the state government of Malaysia’s east coast state of Pahang, had proposed to develop the broadband network at 18 billion ringgit over 10 years without government funding.

The little-known company also said it would bring in Middle Eastern investors for the project.

Telekom Malaysia’s proposal involves the company investing 8.9 billion ringgit in the first phase, of the total cost of 11.3 billion, as the government would invest the rest. The total cost of the project proposed by Telekom Malaysia would be 15.2 billion ringgit over 10 years.

Malaysia aims to increase broadband penetration to half of all homes by 2010, from 18 percent now. This compares with neighbouring Singapore’s rate of 78 percent and Hong Kong’s figure of 80 percent.

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