PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 May, 2006, 12:00am

Cascade puts power behind PCCW broadband
PCCW said it could comfortably claim to be the third-biggest power generator in Hong Kong after CLP Holdings and Hong Kong Electric.

Chan Wing-wa, managing director of PCCW's wholly owned engineering and system integration company, Cascade, said it had installed power-back up supply from batteries and a petroleum-driven electricity generator to help provide a stable, consistent broadband service in Hong Kong.

'Customers simply cannot tolerate having to reboot the computer, even if the power outage was for only a few seconds,' he said, adding that having its own back-up power supply source would ensure that bits flowed without disruption.

Apart from building the technical platform for PCCW's broadband service, Cascade also monitors the running of various fibre rings covering the territory and monitors viewership 'ratings' of the more than 100 channels provided by its Now Broadband TV service.

UK broadband expands service outside London
Meanwhile, PCCW's British wireless broadband unit, UK Broadband, was in town to give a business update to attendees of last week's Broadband World Forum Asia 2006.

Chief operating officer Keith Hawkins said that since it launched in May 2004 using US IPWireless proprietary broadband wireless access technology, the firm had expanded the service into west London, using the brand name Now, to cover 20 towns in the Thames Valley.

For now, Mr Hawkins said the company already had 500,000 homes covered in West London, with pricing plans of ?10 ($136) for a lower speed of 256 kilobits per second (kbps), and ?18 for a higher speed of 512 kbps and 1 megabit per second.

Mr Hawkins was speaking in place of his boss, Ian Stone, who will next month become head of PCCW's mobile arm, Sunday Communications.

The audience was left to wonder whether Mr Hawkins' substitution signalled that succession was imminent for him at UK Broadband.