TELECOM
image

Infrastructure

HKT unleashes more ultra-fast fibre-optic connections for Hong Kong households

New Netvigator service delivers four dedicated 1Gbps connections in one package for households, intensifying residential broadband competition amid demand for more bandwidth at an affordable rate

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 July, 2017, 7:15am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 July, 2017, 10:16pm

HKT, the largest telecommunications network operator in Hong Kong, is unleashing more ultra-fast broadband capacity to households across the city with a new service that delivers up to four multi-use, 1-gigabit per second fibre-optic connections to each residential subscriber.

The initiative intensifies broadband competition in a city where fibre-to-the-home penetration rate in households was still at 39.3 per cent as of March 31, while fibre-to-residential-building penetration was at 33.1 per cent in the same period, according to data from the Office of the Communications Authority. 

Hong Kong is the first market in the world to roll out this upgraded residential broadband service, which is based on a new set of technologies that the operator co-developed with an undisclosed supplier, said HKT group managing director Alex Arena at a press conference on Thursday.

While fixed-line network operators in the city have provided 1Gbps connection to the residential market for several years, HKT’s Netvigator service is pioneering the provision of four individual 1Gbps circuits for use in different residential applications at HK$458 per month under a two-year contract.

HKT's upgraded residential broadband services has come amid government efforts to establish Hong Kong as a "smart city", where digital applications and the infrastructure to support these are ubiquitous in the public and private sectors. 

It is a service ideal for a growing number of households in need of dedicated high-speed bandwidth connections for a home office, video-streaming entertainment, online gaming and blanket coverage for so-called smart-home applications.

Time to hang it up? Hong Kong Communication Authority considers retiring city’s profitless payphones

“This is a ground-breaking achievement,” said Arena. “This new multi-use architecture allows segregated use of the circuits, which ensures a high level of service quality with guaranteed speed, as well as enhanced security to protect our customers from the growing threats of malwares and viruses.”

He also pointed out that it also reinforces Hong Kong’s global lead as the market with “the best telecommunications services at the most affordable prices anywhere in the world”.

A typical 1Gbps broadband service enables a user to download a high-definition movie in 47 seconds, compared to eight minutes on a 100-megabits per second connection.

Having a myriad of applications and gadgets used at home, however, has resulted in less bandwidth and slower online connection from a household’s 1Gpbs service.

The new Netvigator service employs an advanced multi-use modem, dubbed XG-PON optical network terminal, and connects up to four different individual circuits which deliver a dedicated internet downstream bandwidth of up to 1Gbps for each circuit.

In this market, other players will try and copy, but they will have a tough time
Alex Arena, HKT group managing director

HKT also started offering from Thursday two multi-use 1Gbps connections in one package at HK$168 a month under a two-year contract for a limited time.

“The way we use social media and OTT (over-the-top streaming video) services, while working from home, people don’t want entertainment to mess up [the bandwidth for] their home office,” Arena said. “So I believe there is a huge market for this new service.”

“How quickly this develops is a function of pricing on our part and customers investing in the latest personal computers and cloud computing services at home,” he said. “Consumers only move one way – that’s forward – and we’re in front of them.”

HKT’s new residential broadband strategy will likely put pressure on Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong’s 3Home Broadband and Hong Kong Broadband Network, which have no equivalent competitive product offerings.

“In this market, other players will try and copy, but they will have a tough time,” said Arena, pointing out that HKT has the most fibre-optic broadband infrastructure installed in the city.