Bandar Seri Begawan - From January to August this year, DST recorded a significant increase in data traffic usage at more than 70 per cent. This, coupled with the fact that mobile networks are the primary access technology for Internet in Brunei and the sizeable growth in smartphones, tablets and laptops, is causing significant- strain. on the mobile network in the country.
The significant increase in data traffic usage, which has gravely impacted the speed of the mobile network, was revealed by DST CEO Idris T Vasi during an interview yesterday at an informal luncheon held for the print media and electronic media (including bloggers) as part of a gesture of appreciation to media for their continuous support and contributions.
Mr Vasi said, "Globally, the data and video traffic usage has gone up tremendously. It doubled last year and it doubled again this year. From 2011 to 2016, it was forecast that data usage would increase by 60 to 80 times globally. Last year it grew by 133 per cent globally and this year it grew by 110 per cent.
"For the first time, last year saw video traffic accounting for more than 50 per cent globally. Similar with Brunei, a DST-conducted analysis from January to August saw traffic increase by 70 per cent in data usage and video accounted for more than 50 per cent of data usage," the CEO added.
With the growing usage of data traffic, he said, "DST, one of the two telecommunication providers in Brunei Darussalam, is addressing the issues of the impact on network coverage and the Internet by launching the 4G service starting early next year. Together with policy control mechanisms, DST will be able to offload and, reduce the congestion currently experienced by subscribers."
Besides rolling out the_ 4G services, the CEO .said, "We will also be investing in upgrading the 3G and even 2G network infrastructures to accelerate capacity, performance and reliability to enable quality services for Bruneians.
"Currently, we have around 400 base stations covering the nation. We are adding more base stations and we have already added about 20 in the last few months. We are planning to add 60 more before the end of the first half of next year."
When the 4G is launched next year. he said, "We will put a policy control in place. Now in Brunei, about 20 per cent of heavy users use up to 80 per cent of the network resources by downloading HD videos or movies.
"For wireless networks, speed is essentially quoted based on per cell, not per user. In other words, for mobile or wireless networks, the total speed must be divided or shared amongst all the users on a specific cell/base station."
He further explained, "If there is more people under one cell/base station, then there is an impact on the speed of network or if someone is downloading heavy-duty files, that will also affect the speed for the rest.
"When I see the complaints in the social media and blogs, people are comparing the mobile broadband speed with fixed fiber-optic speed which is a totally different comparison. In Brunei, many of us use mobile phones as a primary means to the Internet, while in other countries, they have fiber optic which is fast. There is no comparison between mobile and fixed infrastructure. People should compare between mobile broadband and mobile broadband speed:
Adding to the load on the Internet, he said, "Smartphones have gone up, tablets and laptops have also put a lot on traffic data usage."
Describing policy control, he said, "We will provide various plans and options for users. We don't want 20 per cent of the users to affect the less heavy users, whcih is around 80 per cent. We are looking at plans based on usage and what kind of data is being accessed. The intention is not to slow anyone down, but to improve the service for the majority.
"In other countries like Japan and Korea where Fiber To The Home (FTTH) has been established, people at home don't use mobile network... they use fiber Internet connection, which has offloaded the traffic on the mobile network."
When FTTH is rolled out in Brunei, he said, "People at home will not use mobile traffic as much and they will use FTTH at home and people will see a vast improvement in the mobile network."
He added, "FTTH will be complementary to the mobile network. Mobile brings people mobility, while FTTH is for the home."
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin