YTL Communications Launches the First Large-Scale Terragraph Market Pilot in Asia

Penang, 18 February 2019

YTL Communications Sdn. Bhd. announced today the launch of Terragraph market pilot in Georgetown, Penang to deliver a reliable, affordable and high-speed broadband connection to the heritage city. The deployment, supported by Facebook, would be the first large-scale market pilot in Asia and is aligned with the government's efforts to invest in and further improve on the country's digital infrastructure to ensure greater availability of broadband services.

Telecommunications companies, businesses, and other stakeholders are investing in infrastructure and connectivity capabilities to facilitate the adoption of bandwidth-intensive technologies in an effort to usher in the era of Industry 4.0 and encourage a digital leapfrog for Malaysia. Coverage and adoption of fixed broadband services must be further developed to scale to the country’s aspiration, with the aim to achieve broadband connections that are double the speed at half the price.

This industry-led collaboration by YTL Communications, supported by Facebook, is in line with the vision of the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan’s (NFCP) aim to improve broadband quality and coverage, reduce broadband price and enable Internet access for all. In addition, this also complements the “Penang 2030” vision that promotes Penang to be a Family-focused, Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation.

Georgetown, located in a dense and urban area, is also home to one of the largest collections of pre-war buildings in Southeast Asia. The city's legacy infrastructure and prestigious UNESCO status make it challenging to run fibre to every household, thereby limiting the availability of high-quality broadband Internet access. The unique proposition of Terragraph enables service providers to deploy low-cost, high-speed connectivity in dense urban and suburban areas by utilizing existing street furniture. Facebook has produced a reference design for Terragraph hardware, including the tools and software needed to operate the technology, that will be leveraged for this pilot. The six-month-long market pilot will include the provision of Public WiFi and Fixed Wireless Access.

YTL Communications saw a unique opportunity to apply this innovative technology to eliminate the need to trench and disrupt a UNESCO heritage city while providing a brand-new gigabit wireless infrastructure. They first announced the intention to deploy a market pilot of Terragraph at the Telecom Infra Project Summit 2018 and turned this vision into reality within months.

“A breakthrough in technology is needed to address the need for better broadband while preserving the uniqueness of Georgetown’s proud UNESCO status,” said Wing K. Lee, Chief Executive Officer of YTL Communications. “Commencing on March 1, we expect the pilot to last up to six months, during which we will learn and plan for the commercial rollout while continuing to explore ways to harness this advanced
wireless fiber technology.”

“As the pioneer of 4G in Malaysia, we have built the largest pure-4G network and provide Malaysians with the best data value pricing. The future is wireless. This pilot clearly confirms the viability of wireless as an effective last mile solution. The technical breakthrough in providing gigabit wireless using Terragraph is a preview ofthe exciting era of 5G.” Wing continued.

“With Terragraph, Facebook is building a robust and collaborative ecosystem of chipset vendors, manufacturers and service providers to bring high-quality connectivity to urban and suburban areas. We are excited to partner with operators like YTL Communications who are deploying Terragraph in order to bring internet connectivity to people who are unconnected or do not currently have fast or reliable access,” said Dan Rabinovitsj, Vice President of Connectivity, Facebook.

“We believe that people, no matter where they live, deserve a consistent, high-bandwidth internet experience. As Malaysia grows its digital economy, high-quality internet connectivity is essential in helping create new opportunities that can strengthen both local communities and global economies,” said Bryan Tan, Head of Connectivity Ecosystem Programs, APAC at Facebook.

Facebook introduced Terragraph in 2016, designed to bring gigabit speed to dense urban areas. Terragraph is the underlying technology bringing gigabit speeds to support data demand of urban residents, visitors and accelerating new smart-city services.