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Internet Service Providers wage new broadband war

A broadband price war has emerged as Internet service providers (ISPs) take aim at some 360,000 cable modem users whose services may be discontinued by end-2017. Sources said StarHub’s existing network leasing agreement with Singtel – which is crucial for the former’s cable broadband and TV services – is coming to an end next year. Should StarHub choose to end the lease, its cable services will cease, making its 360,000 customers a prime target for ISPs eager to expand their customer base.

When contacted, StarHub chief marketing officer Howie Lau said: “We will ensure a smooth transition for our customers, from cable to our fibre broadband services.”

The Straits Times understands that a decision has yet to be made on the Singtel lease. In April, StarHub slashed the monthly price for its 300Mbps package from $49.90 to $29 – the cheapest offer yet – as part of early efforts to retain its cable broadband customers.

  • New tech takes over

  • Conventional broadband is based on older technologies such as StarHub’s cable and Singtel’s asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) systems. These technologies, which have been around for more than a decade, have a surfing speed limit of around 100Mbps, unlike fibre broadband services which are 10 to 100 times faster. Fibre broadband – launched here in September 2010 – now commands about 70 per cent market share among households, according to the latest statistics on the Infocomm Development Authority’s website.

    In contrast, there are now only 360,000 cable modem users and “thousands” of ADSL subscribers. It is not known when Singtel will retire its ADSL systems, but StarHub’s cable service may be discontinued next year. StarHub’s existing network leasing agreement with Singtel – which is crucial for the former’s cable broadband and TV services – is coming to an end next year. The long-term lease dates back to the early 1990s, when StarHub’s predecessor, Singapore Cable Vision, was set up.

    It had to lease Singtel’s networks as the latter had a monopoly on telecommunications facilities.

    Irene Tham

But other ISPs also sniffed out the opportunity. Last month, M1 matched the StarHub deal with its own $29-a-month 300Mbps plan. ViewQwest – which has so far been focusing on ultra-fast plans with surfing speeds of 1Gbps or higher – said it is set to offer a 350 Mbps fibre broadband plan for $29 a month tomorrow. “This group of users may not need high-speed plans, but they will be looking to switch to a good fibre broadband provider,” said Mr Vignesa Moorthy, chief executive of ViewQwest.

Mr Mike Ang, president of the Association of Telecommunications Industry of Singapore, said the switch from older technologies such as cable to fibre is inevitable.

“Cable technologies which are capable of surfing speeds of up to around 100Mbps are old and will eventually be retired,” he said. Fibre broadband services debuted here in 2010, offering 10 to 100 times faster surfing than older broadband technologies such as cable and asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL). Now, more than 968,000 – or seven in 10 – households are on fibre broadband plans, according to Infocomm Development Authority statistics.

Mr Clement Teo, a senior analyst at market research firm Forrester, attributed the huge demand for fibre broadband to aggressive promotions. “Today, a 1Gbps plan can be bought for only $39 a month.”

Comparatively, a 6Mbps ADSL plan from Singtel – which is more than 100 times slower – cost $29.90 a month in 2013.

ISPs wage new broadband war

A broadband price war has emerged as Internet service providers (ISPs) take aim at some 360,000 cable modem users whose services may be discontinued by end-2017. Sources said StarHub’s existing network leasing agreement with Singtel – which is crucial for the former’s cable broadband and TV services – is coming to an end next year. Should StarHub choose to end the lease, its cable services will cease, making its 360,000 customers a prime target for ISPs eager to expand their customer base.

When contacted, StarHub chief marketing officer Howie Lau said: “We will ensure a smooth transition for our customers, from cable to our fibre broadband services.”

The Straits Times understands that a decision has yet to be made on the Singtel lease. In April, StarHub slashed the monthly price for its 300Mbps package from $49.90 to $29 – the cheapest offer yet – as part of early efforts to retain its cable broadband customers.

  • New tech takes over

  • Conventional broadband is based on older technologies such as StarHub’s cable and Singtel’s asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) systems. These technologies, which have been around for more than a decade, have a surfing speed limit of around 100Mbps, unlike fibre broadband services which are 10 to 100 times faster. Fibre broadband – launched here in September 2010 – now commands about 70 per cent market share among households, according to the latest statistics on the Infocomm Development Authority’s website.

    In contrast, there are now only 360,000 cable modem users and “thousands” of ADSL subscribers. It is not known when Singtel will retire its ADSL systems, but StarHub’s cable service may be discontinued next year. StarHub’s existing network leasing agreement with Singtel – which is crucial for the former’s cable broadband and TV services – is coming to an end next year. The long-term lease dates back to the early 1990s, when StarHub’s predecessor, Singapore Cable Vision, was set up.

    It had to lease Singtel’s networks as the latter had a monopoly on telecommunications facilities.

    Irene Tham

But other ISPs also sniffed out the opportunity. Last month, M1 matched the StarHub deal with its own $29-a-month 300Mbps plan. ViewQwest – which has so far been focusing on ultra-fast plans with surfing speeds of 1Gbps or higher – said it is set to offer a 350 Mbps fibre broadband plan for $29 a month tomorrow. “This group of users may not need high-speed plans, but they will be looking to switch to a good fibre broadband provider,” said Mr Vignesa Moorthy, chief executive of ViewQwest.

Mr Mike Ang, president of the Association of Telecommunications Industry of Singapore, said the switch from older technologies such as cable to fibre is inevitable.

“Cable technologies which are capable of surfing speeds of up to around 100Mbps are old and will eventually be retired,” he said. Fibre broadband services debuted here in 2010, offering 10 to 100 times faster surfing than older broadband technologies such as cable and asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL). Now, more than 968,000 – or seven in 10 – households are on fibre broadband plans, according to Infocomm Development Authority statistics.

Mr Clement Teo, a senior analyst at market research firm Forrester, attributed the huge demand for fibre broadband to aggressive promotions. “Today, a 1Gbps plan can be bought for only $39 a month.”

Comparatively, a 6Mbps ADSL plan from Singtel – which is more than 100 times slower – cost $29.90 a month in 2013.

Atteberry: Fort Collins continues broadband conversation

Atteberry: Fort Collins Continues Broadband Conversation

Darin Atteberry(Photo: Courtesy of the city of Fort Collins)

Broadband is the No.

1trending topic on the City of Fort Collins new website. Combined with the fact that last November, 83 percent of Fort Collins voters chose to overturn Senate Bill 152 and remove legal barriers to the city s involvement, that tells us that many of you care deeply about this topic. This is why the city is taking a long, hard look at what next-generation, universal, high-speed broadband access might look like for our community. Fort Collins is ranked 18th on Governing.com s list of America s Most Connected Cities, and a recent Market Demand Study suggests 99 percent of surveyed Fort Collins households access the internet at home. Most of the study s 400 respondents also indicated their primary needs are for lower prices and increased speeds and reliability with their broadband services.

City council members and I regularly hear from residents and businesses that the status quo is not working, and that faster speeds and greater reliability are crucial moving forward. At its April 26 work session, City Council reviewed the Market Demand Study and made it clear that this is a priority for the city. With that in mind, we are working closely with a Citizen Ad-Hoc Committee composed of residents; an expert review committee made up of market experts from around the nation; and our project consultants to thoroughly examine all aspects of this complex topic. In recent months I ve also heard from some who believe the city has already made up its mind about how to provide broadband. We have not.

Determining the best course of action for Fort Collins will be a long process. We are exploring a range of business models, as well as what role the City should play, if any. Once we compile that research and have run feasibility models specific to Fort Collins, we will ask for your thoughts. Whatever direction we ultimately pursue will be a significant decision that will require participation and input from the entire community. We will continue to be open, diligent and strategic in our approach.

City Council will discuss next steps at its Aug.

23 work session. I hope you will join us on this journey. Visit fcgov.com/broadband1 to stay up-to-date on our broadband efforts and opportunities to provide input as we continue to explore all options.

Darin Atteberry is the Fort Collins city manager.

He can be reached at 970-221-6505 or datteberry@fcgov.com

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References

  1. ^ http://www.fcgov.com/broadband (www.fcgov.com)