Did you know Malaysia has a Multimedia and Communication Commission that oversees the quality of service for telecommunications companies including the broadband services they provide. I also understand that they are the enforcers of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, with a determination on the mandatory standards for the Quality of Service (Broadband Access Service) .
In not so many words, there are actually laws in place to ensure that your broadband provider meets a minimum standard in terms of uptime and service availability.
However, after reading the a short snippet of the Act from the SKMM website here, I was surprised to find that while it did have a specific outline for the quality of service, it did not have an outline for the penalty imposed if the quality of service was not met.
In terms of quality of service, the Act does outline 2 important areas:
Now if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I recently had a Unifi downtime that lasted 9 days, which obviously is below the minimum level of quality that Unifi should have provided me. A service uptime of 99.9% as mandated by the Act, would translate to a maximum downtime of just 36 hours a year. My 9 days of downtime obviously exceeds that by a fair margin.
So given that, I was extremely upset that TM only offered me a pro-rated rebated on my bill, meaning 9/30 * Rm150 which translates to roughly RM40 dollars. Considering my YES top-up was RM68, I felt this was a raw deal.
So I wrote to the SKMM to ask them what the mandated rebate was in case of such pro-longed downtime?
With regards to your inquiry on compensation for consequential/ economic loss, we wish to clarify that such compensation is not covered in our regulatory framework. Based on the General Consumer Code for the Communications and Multimedia Industry Malaysia, compensation will be offered to customers in cases where a service provider has breached the service provision stipulated by the service provider. However, the compensation is not meant to penalize Service Providers nor to unjustly enriched customers. As far as possible, it is to ensure customers are placed in the same position they were prior to the breach.
As a responsible regulator, we monitor the performance of our licensees. Under the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 (“CMA”), the provision on consumer protection and section 188 highlights that the service provider is required to deal reasonably and address consumer complaint. Failure to handle this, may result in action being taken under section 188(2) of the CMA.
As rightly pointed out by you, TM is also subjected to the Mandatory Standards (MS) For Quality of Service and failure to comply with the standards is a breach of section 105(3) of the CMA. However, as per the above, rebates and compensation is not provided for, under the MS but enforcement action can be taken in the case of non-compliance. These various safeguards are in-place to ensure consumers are fairly protected and dealt with reasonably.
We hope the above clarify your concern.
Now to have a law that specifically states the minimum quality required for broadband services is good, and to have a commission that’s willing to respond to the average citizen is beyond expectations in Malaysia, but to then not have a part of the law that stipulates the penalty for not meeting that minimum level of quality is as good as not having a law in the first place.
However, while the penalty is not stipulated in the act, I’m quite sure since I have a contract with Unifi (or Telekom Malaysia to be exact), and implicit in that contract should be the minimum level of quality, I’m quite sure somewhere in our legal framework lies that magic paragraph that would allow me to claim what is rightfully mine, somewhere to penalize Unifi for not meeting a minimum standard as part of the contract, which would make them in breach of contract and thus compensate in the form of a contract breach rather than a simple service unavailability. However, if you cancel your Unifi contract? Where are you going to go?
I’m too tired, and chasing after Unifi would prove ultimately futile, for now I’m just going to move on, If you’re curious on what you can do, and you’re a lawyer (or know a cheap one), maybe you can take them to court and see what happens. I’m letting bygones be bygones.