Hong Kong Broadband Network, the fixed-line voice and broadband unit of City Telecom (Hong Kong), plans to boost its optical-fibre network to 2,000 commercial buildings in the next two years, according to director of corporate division John Chong. HKBN, a wholly owned subsidiary of City Telecom, now offers an optical-fibre network that is connected to 1,250 commercial buildings and has the potential to reach 50,000 office tenants. 'We connected 600 buildings in the fiscal year to August 2008, which was equivalent to the total of what we did in the previous six years in the commercial market,' said Mr Chong. The company's network that supports both voice and internet services now mostly covers industrial districts such as Kwai Chung and Kwun Tong, as well as first-tier commercial districts such as Central and Admiralty. The expansion of its services in the commercial market follows the company's success in the residential market, which it entered with a self-built network in 2000. Its residential network now reaches about 1.6 million homes in Hong Kong. By the end of February it had signed up 872,000 residential users to its services. 'The stable residential business contributes cash flow for the company's network expansion,' said Mr Chong. Brand awareness in the residential market was also helping to boost business in the expanding commercial market, he added. HKBN earns about 20 per cent of its revenues from the corporate market and Mr Chong said he expected this to increase in line with the company's expanding network coverage. Fixed-line revenues from providing voice and broadband services to both residential and commercial customers reached HK$592 million for the six months to February, up 24.8 per cent year on year. Mr Chong said the company had secured about 15,000 commercial customers out of about 50,000 tenants that could now be connected to the company's network, representing a penetration rate of 30 per cent. 'In buildings where our network has been present for more than a year, we have achieved a market share of 36 to 40 per cent,' he said. HKBN is the second-biggest provider of commercial fixed-line voice and broadband internet services, behind incumbent leader PCCW, which had 1.195 million commercial fixed-line customers last year. HKBN has been expanding into the government sector and recently secured a tender from the Housing Authority to install security cameras linked to its broadband network in various public housing estates.