MCMC: Slower internet speed in Malaysia due to surge in bandwidth demand

MCMC said that local telecommunications and internet service providers were currently working round the clock to increase bandwidth capacity to ensure continued delivery of essential services during the MCO period. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
MCMC said that local telecommunications and internet service providers were currently working round the clock to increase bandwidth capacity to ensure continued delivery of essential services during the MCO period. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 — The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) today said that the surge in bandwidth demand following the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) last month has led to slower internet speed in Malaysia.

In response to a report by Opensignal titled ‘Mobile Experience during the Covid-19 pandemic: 4G Download Speed released’, MCMC said the increased use of video conferencing, learning and shopping over the Internet has made higher demand for bandwidth inevitable.

“Adherence to the MCO by remaining indoors at all times saw 23.5 per cent higher Internet traffic nationwide (for both fixed and mobile broadband services) during the first week of the MCO while the second week of the MCO saw a further increase of 8.6 per cent.

“Greater data consumption could create congestion causing speeds to fall. This has affected the user experience whereby longer loading time is observed particularly while consuming bandwidth-intensive content such as streaming services on High Definition (HD),” it said in a statement here.

According to the Opensignal report, Malaysia’s 4G download speeds dropped from 13.4Mbps on average in early February to an average of 8.8Mbps last week from 23 to 29 March.  

However, MCMC said similar trends were also being observed globally, where operators around the world are experiencing an unprecedented increase in bandwidth usage due to this behavioural shift.

It added that local telecommunications and internet service providers were currently working round the clock to increase bandwidth capacity to ensure continued delivery of essential services during the MCO period following an additional investment of RM400 million for infrastructure and network upgrades.

On March 27, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced an RM400 million allocation for the multimedia and communication sector under the Prihatin stimulus package.

Among the upgrades MCMC listed were network optimisation and radio capacity upgrades at areas with high utilisation; traffic readjustment to cater to the rising bandwidth demand at residential premises; upgrading wireless backhaul to fibre optic connections; increasing domestic trunk capacities including laying new fibre optic infrastructure, increasing interconnect bandwidth and releasing reserved capacities; increasing international link capacities and mobilising portable base stations as well as providing Wi-Fi access points to manage network traffic at critical areas.

“During this period, MCMC and service providers are working together to monitor the network performance and to facilitate any challenges on the ground faced by service providers in performing their job to deploy additional infrastructure and maintain the sites including approvals from the authorities.

“MCMC is optimistic that a more resilient digital connectivity awaits Malaysians upon the implementation of all the initiatives planned by the Government with the support of various stakeholders, particularly industry players,” it said.

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