in many ways, an atypical country. It is hard to categorize and neither developed nor
developing, or both, depending on the region. It is characterized by great
disparities within the country and faces the dilemma of
ensuring its regional and global competitiveness in ICT while at the same time
ensuring equitable ICT access in rural areas. Thus there are projects such as the Multimedia Super
Corridor (MSC), a government-driven initiative to develop a Malaysian
Silicon Valley, as well as the Internet Desa, a program to install
Internet centers in rural areas.
is developing rapidly in Malaysia, helped by some of the lowest dial-up rates in
the world (around 40 US cents per hour). As a result, there were some 1.2
million Internet subscribers—the majority residential—at the end of 2000
with an estimated 15 per cent of the population using the Internet. Broadband
access is predominantly via leased lines. Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
technology is being tested but is not yet widely available. Pay television
service is mainly through Direct-to-Home satellite technology so cable modem
access is not an option in Malaysia. Another option for broadband access is
through fixed wireless but there are a number of technical and regulatory
challenges to overcome in this area.
An ITU team,
consisting of Vanessa Gray, Michael Minges and Lucy Firth, carried out field
research for Malaysia from 2-6 April 2001. The Malaysian Communications and
Multimedia Commission (CMC)—the country’s Information and Communication
Technology (ICT) regulator—served as counterpart and organized meetings with
relevant government and industry organization.