HKBN unveils faster broadband service

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 November, 2004, 12:00am

Hong Kong Broadband Network on Tuesday unveiled a new 100Mbps broadband service it claims is the fastest for residential users in Hong Kong. The company also demonstrated a premium one gigabit per second service that will be available by the second quarter of next year.

'We are raising the value of our brand from Cheap Telecom International - and this time we're not using price to compete, we're using bandwidth,' said HKBN chairman Ricky Wong.

Mr Wong said the company was trying to reposition its brand to provide services with a higher premium - 'a Ferrari at Honda prices'. HKBN will charge customers $268 per month for the 100Mbps service, more than two and half times the $98 it currently charges for the 10Mbps service.

Rival PCCW's Netvigator service provides a dedicated bandwidth of up to only 6Mbps, while upload speeds are limited to 640Kbps. With HKBN's new super-fast services upload and download speeds are the same.

However, users paying the $268 per month will benefit from the 100Mbps bandwidth only when browsing local-based content - for international content the bandwidth is limited to 20Mbps. Users wanting the full 100Mbps bandwidth for international access will have to pay $1,980 per month.

It is not clear whether HKBN will succeed in luring its traditionally cost-sensitive customers to the more expensive service.

IDC fixed-line telecoms senior analyst Claus Mortenson said the higher subscription charges would be prohibitively expensive for mass-market users who make up the majority of the company's customer base.

'If they stick to the list price of $268 I don't think the take-up will be overwhelming,' he said. 'It is oddly priced in many ways - they are offering a very high-speed connection in high-density residential areas where income is very low.'