Gigabit Internet at 5x the cost of 6Mbps? Yes, in Asia

If you’re in North America, you may see speeds for high speed data approaching 8Mbps as Comcast recently announced. And with the average cost for HSD coming in around $40-50 per month these days, wouldn’t it be great to find faster access?


If you live in Hong Kong, you can find 1 Gigabit residential internet access for about four times what we see in the States. That would map to about 200Mbps for $40. 

“Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited (HKBN), a wholly owned subsidiary of City Telecom (HK) Limited announced the official launch of its bb1000 service, a symmetric 1Gbps for the Residential market.


bb1000 is the fastest Internet access service in Hong Kong, being up to 166x faster downstream and 1,950x faster upstream than the advertised bandwidth by the leading Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) deployment in Hong Kong. Priced at HK$1,680/month (US$215) for unlimited access, bb1000 targets premium residential users, such as Home Office or Remote Office access applications. As an introductory offer, HKBN is offering a three-month rebate for the first 200 customers who commit to 15 months contracts.”

The company estimates that about a third of the more than 2 million households in the Hong Kong market are close enough to the Fibre-to-the-Home infrastructure to get the 1Gbps service. If you’re looking for a comparable priced high-speed data service, Om reported earlier this year in Business 2.0 that HK’s City Telecom offers 100Mbps service for about US$25 a month.


The challenge for most areas is that these low-cost/ high-peed packages are available where you have high-density apartment developments in the city that can leverage a high-speed connection. Which is why we see some of the fastest broadband services that are also the least expensive in the world in major cities:

Cities with the lowest monthly cost per megabit per second (lowest to highest, according to Business 2.0’s research)

Hong Kong — City Telecom
Tokyo — Yahoo BB
Seoul — KT Megapass
Paris — France Telecom
New York — Verizon Fios
San Francisco — Comcast High-Speed Internet

There have been a number of announcements rolling out more and more FiOS (FIOS) services video service in a selected community. FiOS service includes Internet access at speeds up to 30 Mbps downstream/5 Mbps upstream. (PDF linkAccording to the Wiki, here’s an example of three tiers of residential Internet service available now in the States:

  • 5 Mbit/s Downstream/2 Mbit/s Up Price: $34.95 or $39.95/month
  • 15 Mbit/s Downstream/2Mbit/s Up Price: $44.95 or $49.95/month
  • 30 Mbit/s Downstream/5 Mbit/s Up Price: $179.95 or $199.95/month (note that this tier is offered at $55-60 in some markets)

So, for the same price as 1Gbit access in HK, you can have up to 30Mbps in New Jersey and other major markets. In Japan, you can find Ethernet and FTTH up to 30Mbps of bandwidth: last year, analysts estimated that these high-speed lines are used by 22% of subscribers.


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4 replies on “Gigabit Internet at 5x the cost of 6Mbps? Yes, in Asia”

Unfortunately above 3 mbit (300 KByte/s) it quickly gets less likely you’re going to get your moneys worth. And web sites don’t tend to open a whole lot faster – unless you use something to kill the ads so they don’t load. Usually 2/3 of the time to render a web page with ads goes to the queries to the ad provider.

For example the Akamai mirrors Microsoft uses may be locally situated so you get full speed (say 90 MB/s for 1 Gbit) but what if it’s a new video release on Channel 9 or etc? Surprise, the mirror has to first download progressively from US. For my mirror this happens at 100-200 KB/s – not enough to progressively download + play the high quality 3 Mbps videos even with my 8 Mbit DSL.

Rather than single web connecions, I think about where you have multiple people in a household sharing an Internet connection, with multiple sessions.

Imagine viewing a movie live over an on-demand service whilst kids are doing their homework (running online apps and viewing audio and video, of course) and the home server is backing up information to the cloud. We’ll likely see more instances where this is the case.

Certainly understand the point on the demands made on new content via a mirror. I suspect that companies offering online entertainment will do more to ensure more seamless and simultaneous availability than we have today for such posted content.

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