Bloggers and Twitterati Briefing & Feedback Session with TM

TMOn the 17th December 2010, TM (or better known as Telekom Malaysia) has held an exclusive briefing and feedback session in Menara TM, and I am invited by them to attend the event, together with another 20-30 bloggers and tweepers, and I have been informed that it was their second time for such an event – larger group for this time. I must first say Thanks to TM (and Azura, such a cute girl) for inviting me and held such an event for us to understand more about their plan, intention, problems etc. I really see a better transparency there, in term of information flow, but of course, there are plenty of things that can be improved. Anyhow, the intention of such session is really good in my opinion, and I hope they will continue doing it (as promised by them) every half year or so for an update for every influencers and customers.

1292589726555The event started with a little bit of introduction after we enjoyed the dinner prepared for us, and some presentations by a few key person in TM about the recent High Speed Broadband (HSBB) services and traffic management issues. After that there is an hour plus Q&A session between the attendees and the management team, which revealed some interesting information.

Some of the key information that I think most of the TM customers (especially Streamyx and UniFi users) will be interested in are listed below in summary style:

HSBB (UniFi)

UniFi service is a very young service, hence there are still plenty of room for improvements.

There is now more than 29,000 UniFi users and increasing everyday.

For UniFi service alone, there are more than 2,500 contractors and 19,000 TM staffs are being trained for support.

For UniFi service, currently the satisfaction percentage is 40%.

On the 14 December 2010, TM and Maxis has signed an agreement where TM will provide HSBB to Maxis. Source

TM is well aware of the UniFi Residential Gateway (RG) config file remote access issue. As a short term solution, they have turned off the remote access management on the RG. The problem will be resolved once the firmware of all RG are upgraded (by Feb 28, 2011), and they are seeking for multi-vendor for the RG, but well aware that it should not be like in Streamyx, which they carry 19 types of different modems.

UniFi is different from Streamyx. There are ‘internal beta’ and ‘external beta’ periods before the launching, unlike in Streamyx.  

UniFi is using the same land line copper wire, but at the different frequency spectrums compared to ADSL technology.

UniFi is currently the cheapest internet access in Malaysia. Based on the UniFi VIP20 package, it is only RM2 per GB if the cap is activated. YES4G charges RM21 per GB. 

Fair Usage Policy/Traffic Management

TM has done a quad-fold increment for international bandwidth but the traffic is still congested. The main issues are 90% of the traffic in Malaysia are towards international link, and 1% of the selfish users (those who using BolehVPN or some other VPN service) are utilizing 20% of the available international bandwidth.

TM are blind-folded by the VPN users because they can’t actually find out what the users are doing with their international bandwidth. This does not only allows them to ‘fully’ utilize all the resources available, it also caused tremendous traffic congestion for the rest of the 99%.

International bandwidth is a limited resource, and very very expensive. They can add in more international bandwidths, but the main issue will not be solved.

As an extra information, there are Streamyx users with the traffic of 1TB/month, and 4TB/month for some UniFi users.

In 2007, TM implemented P2P management but doesn’t find the method efficient enough and it is hogging resources. In the coming future, there are looking into Contention Ratio (CR) which is a traffic management based on the principle of fair speed, and also Volume-Based Pricing (VB), which is the packages with limited bandwidth. No decision has been made yet, but most likely they will introduce volume-based package for their broadband services in 2011.

A traffic tracking tool probably will be released to their customers for the traffic monitoring purpose. The tool will help the customer to determine which package is suitable for them. There will be information about the bandwidth usage on the bill by Q2 2011.

Once Fair Usage Policy (FUP) has made into the final decision stage, all the customers that have signed a 1 or 2 year contract will be informed before the launching.  

TM has currently not yet forwarded any RIAA or RIM copyright infringement letters to their subscribers, but will consider to do it in view of the upcoming Government Legislation – the ISP Liability Act.

Miscellaneous

There are already some local cache (or also known as content delivery network) for some popular website or media contents, such as Google and YouTube, to reduce the utilization of international bandwidth and enhance user experience. They are working hard in bringing more contents to be hosted in local cache.

Rebate on the bill will be handled case-by-case basis. As long as the downtime is more than 24 hours, it’s customer right to ask for a rebate.

TM is working hard to improve the customer service experience.

Pricing will be determined by the market forces/competition.

UniFi will be available in Ipoh by 2012.

UniFi users can use their own access point as a replacement to the RG, but there will be no support in that. RG is designed to have a limited range of transmission to avoid undesired transmission to the other household which can affect performance.

Semenyih’s streamyx issue has been made aware to them. Hopefully they will resolve it soon.

Above are almost, if not all, of the information that I gathered during this briefing and feedback session. These are 1292765348242really great information, especially for the TM customers that are interested to know their direction (like me). I feel their pain as the largest internet service provider, and I really hope they are able to resolve all the pending issues so that every Malaysian can have the fastest and fairest broadband speed.

Apart from the information gathered, the event went butter smooth, except some unconstructive questions asked and microphone hogging by some attendees. Nevertheless, it is great to see that TM has now taking initiative to break the wall between them and the public, and trying to make everything as transparent as possible. I appreciate their move in this, and I really hope to see more in the future. Also a big thank you to TM for the fabulous gift, which is a Sonic Gear Portable Speaker, a great gift and I certainly enjoyed every bits of the event.

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