NG-NBN gaining consumer mindshare

Enterprise Innovation editors
24 Feb 2012

Faster speed and better consumer experience have propelled an increase in awareness and interest in usage of fiber broadband in Singapore homes.

Between April 2010 and July 2011, consumer awareness of optical fiber broadband grew from 41% of respondents to 77%, according to a Fiber Index survey commissioned by OpenNet and carried out by Synovate (now Ipsos).

“Awareness of optical fiber technology is starting to drive demand in Singapore. Requests for optical fiber broadband connections have been gaining pace since the PC Show in June 2011,” said Daniel Ho, director of business development and communications from OpenNet. OpenNet’s official figures reveal that there are currently over 100,000 residential optical fiber broadband users, with an average of over 10,000 broadband users signing up for optical fiber broadband services per month since June 2011.

Also, the study revealed that Singaporeans are willing to pay $40-$50 monthly for a fiber broadband plan, and recent promotions from service providers have reached this ideal price range.

Commenting on the results, Ho said, “This jump is assumed to be partly due to robust marketing from service providers (such as M1, SingTel and StarHub), supported by growth in OpenNet’s optical fiber network, which now extends to more than 80% coverage.”

The Fibre Index survey also showed that the most common applications used by home internet users are internet surfing (92%) and e-mail (87%). Other popular online activities include social networking (81%), watching video/TV online (71%), and online banking (60%).

While early adoption of the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NG-NBN) is encouraging, the Fibre Index survey highlighted the need to better communicate the benefits of fiber optic broadband. “OpenNet and the industry must continue to promote the benefits of fiber broadband over traditional broadband services using ADSL and Cable. Relevant content and applications will also help to drive adoption,” said Ho.

Applications where users of fiber broadband services can see tangible benefits include watching and downloading video content as well as online gaming.

“As one-third of all internet users engage in online gaming at home, an enhanced gaming experience enabled by NG-NBN is likely to be a significant pull factor towards optical fiber broadband adoption,” said Ho. “This group of users benefits greatly from the increased speed enabled by fiber connections.”

One fiber broadband user who is also an avid online gamer, Goh Ee Chye, agreed. “I really enjoy online gaming but the speed and quality of the connection is critical to the experience,” he said. “My current fiber broadband connection offers excellent speed and less downtime. Buffering of movies online is much faster too.”

The Fibre Index survey concurred as well, identifying faster speeds as a major motivation for signing up for fiber broadband.

“The Fibre Index survey paints a positive future for fiber broadband usage in Singapore,” said Ho. “As new applications require more and more bandwidth, we expect that interest in optical fiber broadband speeds will continue to grow in the coming months.”

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