Southeast Asian businesses warm to broadband

14 Jul 2006

The number of small business in Southeast Asia using broadband Internet connections is expected to double by 2010, an industry analyst said Monday.
More than 1.6 million small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) across Southeast Asia will have broadband Internet connections by 2010, up from around 770,000 business today, said Cindy Sim, an analyst at AMI-Partners in Singapore.
'SMBs in emerging countries like Vietnam and Indonesia are increasingly realizing that being connected to the Internet is a necessity, especially for communicating with their customers and suppliers,' Sim wrote in an e-mail. 'An online presence also extends their reach beyond their borders.'
Applications like Web hosting and VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol), which offers the prospect of greatly reduced international communication costs, are expected to fuel demand for broadband services over the next few years, Sim said. Most of these connections will be based on DSL (digital subscriber line) technology, she said.
Wider adoption of broadband Internet connections creates an opportunity for local ISPs (Internet service providers) to offer hosted services, particularly managed security services. This has already happened in some Southeast Asian markets, such as Singapore and Malaysia. 'If the ISPs don't offer it now, they will offer it pretty soon,' Sim said.
While Southeast Asia will see a surge in broadband usage during coming years, the region will continue to lag behind North Asia. Businesses in this part of the world, which includes Taiwan, South Korea, China and Japan, have long embraced the Internet as a communications tool and sales channel.
'Catch-up with North Asia will not happen in the next 10 years,' Sim said, citing substantially lower Internet penetration rates in Southeast Asia's developing nations. -Computer World Hong Kong

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