Singapore - THE race for ultra-high fibre broadband speeds is about to hot up, as upstart ViewQwest on Tuesday launched a 10Gbps fibre broadband plan for homes in Singapore's first end-to-end service.
The boutique Internet Service Provider (ISP) has partnered Aftershock PC, a homegrown custom PC (personal computer) maker, to build specially customised PCs that can exploit the uber-fast throughputs of a 10Gbps line, providing a "comprehensive solution" for consumers.
Said ViewQwest: "Consumers, especially early adopters, who sign up for high-end 10Gbps line expect the very best. Yet, in today's marketplace, they have to figure out for themselves how to customise a compatible computer and set up a home network which can enjoy the maximum speeds of the 10Gbps line."
The Aftershock Boost, a S$2,800 PC customised exclusively for ViewQwest, can handle the 10Gbps connection in "all its glory"; it is composed of a 10Gbps PCI Express fibre module, an ASUS H170M Plus Motherboard and an Intel i7-6700 CPU.
For S$218 a month for 24 months, consumers can enjoy the ViewQwest Black 10Gbps Broadband plan, which includes a dedicated 24/7 customer support helpline, as well as next-business-day on-site support.
It's a "bleeding price" to pay for a "bleeding edge" technology, real-life advantages of which are in fact far and few today, ViewQwest chief Vignesa Moorthy told a media briefing.
But unlike rival ISPs that use GPon (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) solutions which are limited to only over 2Gbps upstream speeds, ViewQwest's 10Gbps line leverages Metro Ethernet technology to provide symmetrical 10Gbps upstream and downstream speeds, he said.
ViewQwest's 10Gbps service also has ultra-low latency of under 1ms, which is essential for users who desire a "jitter-free" Internet for real-time applications such as 4K video streaming, voice calls and multiplayer online games, Mr Moorthy added.
Currently, Singtel, M1 and SuperInternet offer 10Gbps fibre broadband service for homes, respectively priced at S$189, S$189 and S$199 a month. StarHub and MyRepublic have yet to get into the 10Gbps game, both citing a not-quite-ready ecosystem around the technology.
Said MyRepublic: "Speed is certainly important, but it should be speed consumers can experience. Right now, a 10Gbps line will end at one's doorstep because Wi-Fi and consumer home connectivity solutions can't support 10Gbps."
StarHub added that it would expand its fibre broadband offerings, when devices that support higher speeds "become affordable for the mass market".
Singtel, which last month introduced its 10Gbps plan, said that response has been encouraging. "Additionally, we expect exponential growth in data-intensive applications and inter-device connections with the rapid development of IOT (Internet of Things) . . . fuel(ling) the increasing need for faster and smoother connections that come with 10Gbps technology."
Mr Moorthy is bullish on the technology. "History has shown that over time, new applications will emerge that can take full advantage of the blazingly fast pipe. We are building this for the future."
This article was first published on March 9, 2016.
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