Poor Internet Sevice Is Destroying Malaysia’s Image As A Tech Hub

The Internet Is Temporarily Unavailable

Photo Credit: Leia

For the past 11 days, I’ve been bombarded by accusations that my company’s server is slow. As much as I explained that the server performance is on par with service standards of developed countries (in fact, we’re doing much better than most), the truth of the matter is, regardless of where your server is located; you will always be subjected to your ISP’s failures and incompetencies.

For any problem (especially Internet connectivity related ones), one must find the source of the bottleneck. In our case, it has been Streamyx’s “service interruption” that has been going on since 20 December 2008.

Nevermind that the server has been performing admirably since that period for the rest of the world. The painful truth is that my customer base is almost entirely located in Malaysia. Even more painful is the fact that almost all of them are Streamyx customers; that monolithic, incompetent, self-absorbed, competophobic, poor excuse of an ISP.

Let me reproduce the Streamyx announcement page I linked to in full:

20/12/2008

SERVICE INTERRUPTION

Dear Valued Customers,

Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) wishes to announce that there is a disruption of its Internet services due to circuits fault on Southeast Asia – Middle East – Western Europe 4 (SMW4) submarine cable network between Palermo (Southern Italy) and Alexandria (Northern Egypt) linking Malaysia to Europe. Due to this, customers using Internet services may now experience slow browsing while accessing websites hosted in Europe.

In addition, customers using other IP services such as Virtual Private Network (VPN) and other critical business applications linked to Europe may also experience some service degradation.

To alleviate the problem, some of the links have been rerouted to alternate routes to ease the congestion.

Restoration works on the affected cables are already in progress. However, in the restoration process, traffic to Northern America may experience minor degradation while traffic to other countries is not affected. TM expects the complete recovery of its services by December 31, 2008. TM will make further announcements on the progress of the restoration works.

TM wishes to assure its customers that it is undertaking all necessary measures to restore communications services for its customers as soon as possible.

Customers can call TM at 100 and select “Internet Services” or e-mail us at help@tm.com.my for any Internet related problems.

Thank You.

Note the following sentences:

  • Due to this, customers using Internet services may now experience slow browsing while accessing websites hosted in Europe. …:
  • However, in the restoration process, traffic to Northern America may experience minor degradation… and;
  • traffic to other countries is not affected.

Let’s see if I can interpret the main points correctly:

  • The problem lies with a submarine cable linking Southeast Asia to the Middle East to Western Europe; Result: Slow access speeds to sites hosted in Europe
  • To fix this; TM performs traffic re-routing which in turn degrades QOS to North American hosted servers; Result: Slow Internet access to Europe and North America (read: USA and Canada)
  • And amazingly; traffic to other countries are not affected! What a good way to put a positive note on the whole issue. FYI TM, more than half of the world’s most popular servers are located in Europe and North America!

So basically, a huge portion of Malaysian Internet users are effectively connected to European and North American sites via sub-par connectivity. The wonderful thing about TM’s broadband business plan is that consumers still pay the full monthly charges even though they’re not getting what they paid for!

Hurray for TM! Oh the advantages of being an incompetent monopoly.

If you think companies that host their content on Malaysian servers are not affected by this issue, you couldn’t be more wrong. Perhaps Malaysians will have little to no problems accessing your content. However, look at the big picture

  • European Internet users account for 26.3% of global usage
  • North Americans make up 17% of worldwide Internet users

My question is; Can your business afford losing more than a third of potential global traffic? TM certainly thinks so… at least for 11 days of the most prolific period of Internet spending (the week before and after Christmas are most profitable for a majority of online retailers)!

To TM, this is just a small issue. Why else wouldn’t they apologize to customers in that announcement. It’s not like we, the consumer, have any choice in this matter.

10 responses to “Poor Internet Sevice Is Destroying Malaysia’s Image As A Tech Hub”.

  1. nicktay Says:

    Malaysia Boleh

  2. Jessen Says:

    They dominated the market, that’s why they can provide lousy service to us because we have no other choice. Maxis, Celcom 3G and Wimax is too expensive and not available in many areas. Therefore we are stucked with Streamyx.

  3. donny Says:

    I totally agree with the state and standard of our internet connectivity. There are countries out there where the ISPs upgrade household internet connectivity *for free* at speeds of more than 10mbps (in the UK, for instance)! In fact, 10mbps is considered pretty slow, and something that is pretty common for households in Europe and the States. Here, we have limited locations where we can even be served 4Mbps!

    There must be something we as consumers can do. This is ridiculous!

    I’m so ticked off having read your post, I think I may continue to rant about this in my own blog. 🙂

  4. papajoneh Says:

    no wonder just to open this post takes me a trip to make my own nescafe in the kitchen, back sit down and still loading. Nice eh?

    yep, the money is low now on year end all thanks to TM and anyone related to it. What a day to end 2008. Malaysia Boleh.

  5. Site Admin Azmeen Says:

    @nickytay: Woot to that!

    @Jessen: Dominate? They are the frickin’ market, especially when it comes to last mile wired connectivity. Who else can you get your fixed phone lines from in Malaysia?

    As for mobile operators like Maxis, Digi and Celcom (also a TM subsidiary) own version of wireless broadband? I personally think that they are rip-offs as well. You’ll never get the advertised speed.

    I really hope WiMAX can deliver for Malaysians. It’s an impressive protocol, but I’ll reserve comments regarding our own P1 W1MAX until I actually get to try it out.

    @donny: I don’t know about you, but personally I’ll ditch TMNet in a heartbeat as soon as a competent ISP appears on my turf. Right now, I’m not a TM customer because I want to; I’m forced to be one!

    @papajoneh: Same story here! Even navigating through Facebook becomes almost impossible for me!

  6. Barbara Says:

    Hey Azmeen,

    Happy New Year to you and yours 🙂

    Hmm…that explains why one of my blogs (a gift from a friend from NA) is experiencing some problems. Bloggers from Msia cannot access the site properly 🙁 Hence traffic has gone down. TM Net says it expects the complete recovery of its services by December 31, 2008?? Well today is 1 Jan 2009 and the line still suck big time!!! *Sigh*

  7. Alexander Lim Says:

    KUALA LUMPUR: Telekom Malaysia Bhd said on Tuesday there was a delay in the restoration of Internet services following technical problems in repairing the submarine cable network linking Malaysia to Europe.

    “Due to the delay, full recovery of Internet services is now expected to be on Jan 4, 2009,” TM said in a statement.

    ****

    Now already Jan 04 , yeah hurray . Nothing happen , still slow. The chinese new year is coming , from my experience every BIG holidays slowmyx will become extremeslowmyx again.
    Booooooooooo, go to sleep now.

  8. Younan Says:

    Last year our international company decided to move its HQ to Malaysia Kuala Lumpur including its IT department – today we find it hard to stay in Malaysia with that kind of Internet connection. The main problem for us is not that there is a main internet connection outage, the problem is we lost confidence in Malaysian telecom services, the way that Streamyx is handling the problem and the time they are taking to fix the problem. Even if the Internet connection is been restored to normal, we believe having the HQ in Malaysia was not a good idea.

  9. Happily Usher in Year 2009 | The Volgograd Times Says:

    […] ago. Then, Volgotimes was hosted in a Malaysian server, and I am not entirely sure but I suspect it has something to do with Streamyx (the date fits) or perhaps it was the host’s problem […]

  10. Annoymous Says:

    Hey, nice blog here. I hope many people will read this, and get really pissed off. It’s 2010 now, and I’m staying in Kuala Lumpur. Imagine guys, I’m using my NEIGHBOUR’S internet now… And internet supply has been cut off 3 days ago…MALAYSIA BOLEH!!

    If it’s in European countries , I bet they will go bankrupt in 2 days. Damn this bullshit.

    Quoted from the post:
    In addition, customers using other IP services such as Virtual Private Network (VPN) and other critical business applications linked to Europe may also experience some service degradation.

    What the hell? How are businesspeople and other citizens going to communicate with the others?

    Seriously,
    @Streamyx: Go fuck yourselves man.