Friday, 9 November 2018

WHAT ABOUT BROADBAND PURCHASING POWER PARITY AND THE SPEED FOR WHAT WE PAY ?

This is something which Malaysia's dear Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Yang Berhormat (The Right Honourable) Gobind Singh Deo needs to look into.

Besides that, the good Minister (whose official e-mail address is also included Bcc (blind carbon copy) in this e-mailshot) should also look into the fact that my Telekom Malaysia Unifi bill dated 04 November 2018 remains at RM149.00 per month or RM157.95 after Sales and Services Tax, when Telekom Malaysia should have automatically reduced it to a lower monthly rate (of around RM120 per month), following the good minister's directive to all of Malaysia's broadband service providers to reduce their broadband rates.

Anyway, on 6 November 2018, The Malay Mail carried an article entitled - Malaysia stagnant in broadband affordability, even as broadband prices in some of our regional neighbours have become more affordable. The link to the article referred to is included below:-

The article drew upon data from the results of a survey entitled Worldwide Broadband Price Comparison 2018, published by Cable.co.uk, an Excel spreadsheet providing details of comparative broadband prices in 195 countries  can be downloaded from here:-

The Malay Mail article included infographic showing the average monthly cost of broadband across 10 ASEAN countries in U.S. dollars and Malaysian ringgit and Thailand came out tops with the lowest average broadband price in 2018, followed by Myanmar and then Malaysia in third position ahead of Singapore and six other ASEAN countries.

The infographic also showed that Malaysia had remained in 76th place in terms of average monthly broadband cost in 2018 and in 2017, amongst the 195 countries surveyed worldwide.
The Malay Mail also highlighted that whilst Singapore came forth after Malaysia in ASEAN, in terms of average broadband price, however it came tops in ASEAN in terms of price per megabit per month.

Being one who as far as possible, prefers to get information and data for my articles directly from the source and make up my own mind, I downloaded the report in an Excel spreadsheet from Cable.co.uk's website provided above and present them herewith in a series of six screen captures, with the average cost of broadband per month in U.S. dollars in ascending order - i.e. the lowest first and we can see that Ukraine came out tops at US$5.00 per month. (pardon the mis-alignment in my first screen capture).




Taking a closer look at Malaysia, the screencap below shows Malaysia ranked at 76th place with U.S.$47.92 average cost of broadband per month, with other countries nearest Malaysia on the list.

Sorting the rankings by broadband price per megabit per month in U.S. dollars, Malaysia came 93rd at U.S.$3.06 per megabit per month behind Pakistan and ahead of Saint Martin - i.e. the northern part of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, which is an overseas territory of France. 
The screen cap below shows that Singapore came tops amongst the 195 countries and territories with U.S.$0.03 of 3 US cents per megabit per month, followed by Ukraine at 4 U.S. cents per megabit per month and so forth, and rather surprisingly, there are many developing countries with far lower broadband costs per megabit per month than Malaysia.
The infographic below from the Worldwide Broadband Price Comparison 2018 report shows the five countries with the most expensive and the five with the least expensive broadband packages in the world, and all of the five with least expensive broadband packages include Syria which is battling U.S. imperialist backed "rebels", "poverty-stricken" Venezuela which is "beset by shortages and economic problems" according to U.S. imperialist and Western European imperialist media reports, Iran which is under U.S. imperialist sanctions against oil exports in a vain attempt to strangle her economically, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.  

So why is broadband so expensive in relatively peaceful and supposedly prosperous, middle-income Malaysia, with our 'first world infrastructure and third world mentality', as former Prime Minister, Tun Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi described us?

Whilst the Excel spreadsheet downloaded from Cable.co.uk provides average monthly broadband prices in the 195 countries and territories, as well as broadband prices per megabit per month, however the list falls short on broadband speeds for what one pays for in each of these 195 countries and territories and and a very significant metric - i.e. broadband prices in terms of purchasing power parity in each of these 195 countries and territories, since the prices in purchasing power parity is a true indicator of the affordability of broadband packages for customers in these respective countries.

To digress a bit, I refer you to my second earliest IT.Scheiss blog post dated 4 October 2013, entitled 'Malaysia: A "High Income" nation for whom by the Year 2020?', in which I point out that earning RM48,000 per annum gross national income per capita (or RM4,000 per month) by the year 2020 as envisaged by Malaysia's Economic Transformation Programme announced on 25 October 2010 by our former Prime Minister Dato' Sri Najib Tun Razak, whereby Malaysia becomes a "high income nation" by 2020, is deceptive, since gross national income per capita is an average figure and averages can be deceptive indicators, especially when there is a high income disparity between the top income earners and the majority of the population, when the median mode income would be more accurate indicators.

Also, in my blog post, I describe the Geary-Khamis International Dollar - a fictional 'currency' - actually an index created by economists and used by international bodies such as the World Bank and others as a measure of the actual value of income in each country in terms of purchasing power parity.


One key metric I forgot in my arguments is the rate of inflation, independently estimated by unit trust companies and others to be around 5.6% in the urban centres such as Klang Valley at the time (2013), which would render it difficult for someone earning RM4,000 per month or RM48,000 per annum to make ends meet in face of higher living costs by the year 2020 (now postponed to 2024).

I understand that the official inflation rate for Malaysia published by the government is based upon the average of price increases in 200 goods and services and is an average for the whole country, whilst in practical terms, the inflation rate is lower in a rural village and considerably higher in a major metropolitan area such as the Klang Valley, so a good and reliable indicator of actual inflation in a particular city or town could be called the Local Nasi Lemak, Char Koay Teow,  Chappati and Teh Tarik Index.

Reducing prices, the cost of living and inflation for us ordinary Malaysians is something which our 'Malaysia Baru' ('New Malaysia') Finance Minister, Yang Berhormat Lim Guan Eng, who is also included in this mailshot must look into seriously.

Anyway, back to the core topic of this post, the article on Cable.com.uk's website includes an active infographic based upon data from a report published earlier entitled - Average measured speeds of the five cheapest and most expensive countries,  in terms of broadband prices in U.S. dollars (left) and speeds in megabits per second (right) in these respective countries, which I have presented in two screencaps side by side.
The above clearly shows one pays U.S.$768.16 for 0.7 megabits per second (700 kilobits per second) in Mauritania - Ouch!!!

Now the entry-level fibre broadband price in Malaysia is now around RM120 per month, though I still pay nearly RM158 per month for 10 megabits per second, whilst Singtel's entry-level fibre broadband packages costs Sin$44.90 for 1 gigabits per second connectivity (or the equivalent of RM136.05 at the current RM3.03 to the Singapore dollar right now).


In purchasing power parity terms, paying RM120 per month (or like me, nearly RM158 per month) is more than three times as costly for someone with an income of RM3,000 per month in Malaysia, than paying Sin$42.90 is for someone in Singapore with an income of Sin$3,000 per month, ignoring the 100 times faster broadband speed in Singapore.

Up in Thailand, AIS's entry-level home fibre broadband package costs 559 Thai Baht (RM70.43) per month for an asymmetric 50 megabits per second  download and 20 megabits per second upload speed, which not only is five times faster download and two times faster upload for about half of what I in Malaysia pays for 10 megabits per second or about 58% of Telekom Malaysia's RM120 per month Unifi package.


In purchasing power parity terms, I reckon that Thailand is much closer to Malaysia than is Singapore, where someone in a job which pays RM3,000 per month in Malaysia would be paid 30,000 Thai Baht in Thailand, especially in Bangkok, where the cost of living is similar to that in the Klang Valley.

So, please look further into this, dear Communications and Multimedia Minister, Yang Berhormat Gobing Singh Deo, dear Finance Minister, Yang Berhormat Lim Guan Eng and yes - also dear Economic Affairs Minister, Yang Berhormat Dato' Seri Azmin Ali (once he has finished battling Rafizi Ramli for vice-president in your party elections).

For the benefit of readers, The Malay Mail article referred to follows below:-

 
Malaysia stagnant in broadband affordability, even as some regional neighbours improve

Published 1 hour ago on 06 November 2018

By Jerry Choong

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — The status of broadband internet packages affordability in Malaysia remained unchanged from last year, even as neighbouring countries in the regions experience varying changes to their rankings.

The Worldwide Broadband Price Comparison for 2018 conducted by analytical company Cable.co.uk revealed that Thailand ranks as the first in the Asean region with the cheapest broadband packages, followed by Myanmar and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Laos has the most expensive broadband package prices in the region. This was followed by Brunei and Vietnam.

At the 76th place globally, Malaysians pay on average US$47.92 (RM199.47) per month for broadband. In contrast, Thailand was placed 29th at US$25.58 (RM106.48) monthly.

The biggest winners this year have been Myanmar and Indonesia, at global ranks of 57th (US$37.56 or RM156.34) and 92nd (US$54.85 or RM228.31) places respectively. Both had ranked 131st and 126th places respectively last year.

Bruneians have to fork out an average of US$123.29 or RM513.19 per month for broadband packages, and Laotians must pay a whopping US$239.25 or RM995.88 per month for broadband packages.

However, Brunei has moved 20 spots upwards from 193rd place last year to 173rd this year, while Laos remains unchanged.


The remainder of the Asean countries have seen their affordability rankings take a dip this year compared to last. Singapore has dropped from 59th to 78th place this year, where broadband packages cost an average of US$50.43 (RM209.91) per month.

However the study also notes that it has the best value in the world at US$0.03 (RM0.12) per megabit.

The Philippines went down three places from 85th to 88th place, at US$53.14 (RM221.20) a month, while Cambodia went from 89th to 108th at US$62.29 (RM259.28), and Vietnam from 106th to 124th at US$69.63 (RM289.83).

Globally the study indicated that several of the most expensive countries for broadband packages are situated in Asean (Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Laos) whereas in the greater Asian continent Sri Lanka, Iran, Nepal and Mongolia are ranked among the top 20 cheapest countries for broadband packages.


Yours most trully

IT.Scheiss


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