A statement published by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has sought to address ‘statements spread through social media’ in the wake of the recent announcement that the implementation of the ‘National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan’ (‘NFCP’) has been approved by the Malaysian government.
Last week, the MCMC confirmed that the government had given the go ahead to the NFCP, a five-year plan due to run between 2019 and 2023 which is expected to cost MYR21.6 billion (USD5.1 billion) and provide ‘digital connectivity that is robust, pervasive, high quality and affordable for all Malaysians’. While the NFCP will focus on fibre infrastructure, the MCMC notes that alternative technologies, such as wireless and satellite networks, will also be deployed ‘wherever conducive’. The NFCP’s main targets include the provision of an average speed of 30Mbps in 98% of populated areas and the availability of gigabit services in selected industrial areas by the year 2020 and all state capitals by 2023.
However, the NFCP announcement generated something of a social media ‘storm’, specifically: claims that the NFCP is a ‘mega-project’; suggestions that the cost of the project has increased from MYR1 billion to MYR21.6 billion since the announcement was first made as part of the government’s 2019 budget; and allegations that a company called OPCOM would be the biggest beneficiary of the NFCP.
In response, the regulator has now clarified that the MYR1 billion figure mentioned in the budget had specifically referred to the initial allocation for the project, with this meant to fund ‘selected infrastructure projects’ this year. Meanwhile, the MCMC also stressed that, as the NFCP will comprise ‘many’ infrastructure projects, including some financed by licensees themselves, utilising different technologies, there could be ‘no specific company dealing with a specific technology can be the biggest beneficiary of the NFCP’.