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Internet in Malaysia

The Internet started as ARPA net, a US defense research project, and as time went by, other countries started wiring in to the network, which meant connecting to the US directly. This was typical to many countries at the time, that they were far better connected to the US than they were to one another.

In the early 90's, Malaysia linked to the global Internet was via an undersea cable to the United States.


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Underwater cable, circa 1996

In the late 90's, the FLAG system, or Fiber Optic Link Around the Globe, came online. Linking to FLAG is JARING.

Completed in 1997, the cable begins in Porthcurno, England, and runs through the Strait of Gibraltar to Palermo, Sicily before stretching across the Mediterranean to Alexandria and Port Said, Egypt. From here it travels overland to to the FLAG Network Operations Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The cable crosses the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, travels overland across Thailand and then up through the South China Sea to Lan Tao Island in Hong Kong. It finally terminates in Japan in two separate locations: Ninomiya and Miura. All told the cable is some 28,000-km or 17,500 miles long.

FLAG was part of a trend that brought about a vast increase in intercontinental bandwidth, other systems which gradually came online included:

Fibre-Optics Cable Countries, Regions
ASIA PACIFIC CABLE (APC) Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore
ASIA PACIFIC CABLE (APCN) Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand,
Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, and the Philippines
BRUNEI-MALAYSIA-PHILIPP, (BMP) Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines
KUANTAN-KOTA-KINABALU (KNKK) Malaysia interconnect
MALAYSIA -THAILAND (MT) Malaysia, Thailand
SAFE South Africa, Mauritius, Malaysia
SEA-ME-WE 2 France through Med to Singapore
SEA-ME-WE 3 Germany, UK, France through Med. to Japan



Malaysian ISPs

MIMOS, established on 1 January 1985 as the Malaysian Institute of Microelectronic Systems, is entrusted with the role of developing information technology capabilities in Malaysia. It subsequently became a government research and development institution in November 1996. Telekom Malaysia is the incumbent and dominant telecom operator, offering a wide range of telecom services. It operates the 10 Gbps Hypernet, the largest IP backbone in the country, spanning the length of Peninsular Malaysia.

The leading ISPs in Malaysia are still those who received their licenses before 1999. These licensees are Telekom Malaysia Bhd., MIMOS Bhd., Maxis Communications Sdn. Bhd., Celcom Sdn. Bhd., TimedotCom Bhd., DiGi Telecommunications Sdn. Bhd. and PrismaNet Sdn. Bhd. Both MIMOS and Telekom Malaysia can be regarded as the incumbent ISPs, as both commenced operations well before the other five ISPs were awarded licenses in the second half of 1998. Celcom and TimedotCom are the only new ISPs that operate their own fiber-optic IP backbone network.

Telekom Malaysia controls more than 98 percent of the local loop, and the other ISPs are highly dependent on Telekom Malaysia's network. They have no control over copper-line quality, and furthermore, Telekom Malaysia is not mandated to unbundle its local loop to competitors. Many of these problems are currently being resolved as intra- and international links are upgraded.

Packet One, the newest ISP and effectively the true competitor to Telekom's Streamyx, is relying on WiMax technology to slip away from Telekom's copper-line. While this strategy had been tried by Jaring before, Packet One arguably has better marketing strategy and is betting on a standardized technology that will be embeded in future notebook PCs, theoretically lowering its costs in the long run.




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