S'pore leaps into top 10 in broadband speed

SINGAPORE has broken into the top 10 in global broadband speed ranking, leaping past 10 economies in just three months.

Coming in 10th, Singapore recorded an average connection speed of 12.2 Mbps in the third quarter of last year, according to the latest study by United States- based Internet specialist Akamai Technologies. In the previous quarter, the Republic was ranked only 21st, with an average connection speed of 10.4 Mbps.

South Korea (25.3 Mbps) maintained its pole position globally, with Hong Kong (16.3 Mbps) coming in second, followed by Japan (15 Mbps) and Switzerland (14.5 Mbps), according to Akamai.

The firm tracks global users' connection speeds from handling more than two trillion requests for online content daily. Its global network of computers, which saves copies of its customers' websites, distributes content from locations closer to Internet users for faster downloading.

A key driving force behind Singapore's rise was last year's fibre broadband price war. "More people opted for higher-speed plans after heavy discounting by service providers," said senior analyst Clement Teo of US-based market research firm Forrester.

Many Internet service providers (ISPs) cut the prices of their 500 Mbps plans - by as much as a third - after MyRepublic announced its $49.99-a-month 1Gbps plan in January last year.

In August, SingTel slashed the price of its 1 Gbps plan by 30 per cent to $69.90 a month. A month later, M1 halved the price of its 1 Gbps plan to $49 a month.

Singapore's leap into the fast lane could be aided in part by the activation of a backlog of higher- speed packages in the third quarter, said Mr Teo. The backlog was partly caused by MyRepublic's offer, which drew many sign-ups but led to months of delay.

The Akamai report also showed that Singapore narrowed the surfing speed gap with all-time "speed demons" South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan.

Broadband users here were surfing at half the speed of their South Korean counterparts, and just a tad slower than users in Hong Kong and Japan in the third quarter of last year.

In the same period two years ago, Singapore's average connection speed of 4.9 Mbps was a third of South Korea's, and half of that in Hong Kong and Japan.

"Singapore has caught up since the launch of the government- sponsored fibre broadband network," said Mr Vignesa Moorthy, chief executive of local ISP ViewQwest. It plans to offer 2 Gbps fibre broadband, the fastest residential Internet speed in the world, by March this year.


This article was first published on January 10, 2015.
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