How come our broadband is slower than narorow band?

By Mohsin Abdullah/MySinchew

BEFORE you accuse me of losing my memory, let me say that yes I do remember that I wrote Thursday a piece about the government’s “plan” to filter internet content. But since this “filter” issue is still filtering in, so to speak, I think I’ll have another go at it.

Filter in Bahasa Melayu ( or should it be Bahasa Malaysia ? or Bahasa Kebangsaan ? I’m confuse, forgive me). Anyway I’ll start again. Filter is translated in Malay as “tapis”. Hence the Censorship Board, whose job among other things is to cut off “dirty scenes and dialogues,” is, in Malay, “ Lembaga Penapis ( the key word being “tapis”) .

So when minister Rais Yatim used the word ‘filter’, it’s not much of a surprise that most of us see this equation: filter = censor. Prime Minister Najib Razak has denied that the government want to censor the internet, a denial made on the very same day Rais was confirming earlier report quoting sources that the government was looking into the filtering of net content.

But only porno stuff. That’s what he said. Despite that, and Najib’s assurance, the “filter” issue has not gone away. Many feel the filter will come in one way or another and from porno sites the filter will ‘enroach’ into other things. Namely “independent” news portal and socio-political blogs. Mere speculation ? Unfair conclusion? Usual prophets of doom stuff? I don’t know. I do know public concern is real.

But then, usage of the internet in Malaysia is not “really great”. Don’t get me wrong. More and more people are surfing the net now. Most of us are connected. Or that’s what we tell ourselves and our friends. There are WiFi in many places. Even our favourite hangout for the tarik and roti canai. Malaysians young and old with laptops is a common sight. Then there’s the sophisticated mobile phones and black berry and what not. We know of websites, blogs, face book, twitter, you name it we’ve know it.

However, accessing the internet is not as fast as we would want it to be. Heavy traffic we are often told. In fact our broadband is slower than the narrow band in Japan for instance. This despite the trumpeting of our first world facilities.

I’m sure we have lost count of the number of times when we got connected but cannot “masuk.” Reason ? Cannot find server lah, glitch, heavy traffic ( again ?) and all kinds of “hi tech excuses”.

I know all this things happens and we can’t expect a 100 percent perfect system. There are bound to be , glitches. Yes. But our beloved country has always been proud to say we are “up there’. We’ve got MSC, Cyberjaya and all that.

So how come we can’t improve things? And how come other countries do not experience frustrating moments we are facing in front of the computers? And I’m not talking about the US, UK. I’m just looking at our Southeast Asian friends. Not Singapore lah. The island republic is way ahead. I’ll stop praising them before I’m accused of being a Singapore lover and thus a traitor.

Still, ever the loyal Malaysian, I have the confidence that the good people entrusted to shoulder this cyber thing will fix it. Hopefully ASAP.

Last point, I’ll state the obvious. Sorry.When you can’t ‘masuk’ , then you can’t surf, cannot navigate. Or you can access but get to the sites of your choice. Or it will take ages. You get so frustrated you just switch off your computers and walk away. Hey, come to think of it, this can be an effective way of “censoring ”the net. Accusing fingers can’t be pointed at anybody. Blame it on technology. With that in place, who need filters?