Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) observed that the demand for bandwidth has surged due to Malaysians currently staying at home following implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO). Increased use of video conferencing, learning and shopping over the Internet is making the higher demand for bandwidth inevitable.
Adherence to the MCO by remaining indoors at all times saw 23.5%1 higher Internet traffic nationwide during the first week of the MCO, while the second week of the MCO saw a further increase of 8.6%. 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).
According to the report Mobile Experience during the COVID-19 pandemic: 4G Download Speed released by Opensignal, Malaysia’s 4G download speeds dropped from 13.4Mbps on average in early February to an average of 8.8Mbps last week (23 to 29 March).
Similar trends are also being observed globally, where operators around the world are experiencing an unprecedented increase in bandwidth usage due to this behavioural shift.
Local telecommunications and internet service providers are currently working around the clock adding bandwidth capacity to ensure continued delivery of essential services during the MCO period. The telecommunications industry is working on improving network performance during this time through an additional investment of RM400million for infrastructure and network upgrades, as announced in the Pakej Rangsangan Ekonomi Prihatin Rakyat (PRIHATIN) recently. This includes activities such as:
- Performing network optimisation and radio capacity upgrades at areas with high utilisation;
- Performing 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.