In the face of fierce competition, some Singapore telecom operators have raised speeds, while others promise to open up a world of online video streaming.
StarHub, left with a slightly antiquated cable modem service, is bundling it as a sort of backup link together with its first 1Gbps fibre broadband service today.
Its new Dual Broadband 1000 plan will set users back by S$69.90 a month, but they will get both a 1Gbps fibre service for speed and an additional 100Mbps cable modem link.
The price is higher than the S$49.90 that MyRepublic is asking for its 1Gbps service, which it started offering in January this year.
The breakthrough service has prompted big players such as SingTel, M1 and now StarHub to match up in terms of speed. ViewQwest, a relatively new player in the consumer space, even rolled out a 2Gbps trial last week and plans to offer the service next year.
StarHub’s new dual broadband deal today isn’t the first from the operator. It already provides a 500Mbps fibre offering plus a 100Mbps cable modem deal for S$59.90, S$10 less than the new 1Gbps bundle.
Both plans will seem attractive to existing cable customers who already pay roughly the same price from previous subscription contracts. The idea of a backup link could appeal to some home users, especially after a high-profile outage last year forced many to lose their Internet connections.
However, it remains to be seen if such a “redundant” or spare link will be practical at home. The cable modem link to StarHub will continue to work if the main fibre connection running through OpenNet is down. However, if a serious outage occurs at StarHub, both links could still be affected at the same time.
There are other creative uses for all that bandwidth, as StarHub suggests today. Users could have the slower cable modem service for surfing and other low-bandwidth uses, while keeping the fibre broadband connection for more demanding uses.
Problem is, with 1Gbps, you’ll have to download a lot of files, play a lot of games and watch a lot of movies all at the same time to even come close to saturating that “fat pipe”.
Not that users will ever complain about too much bandwidth, though.
It helps that StarHub is even throwing in two free wireless networking devices for free, as part of a current promotion. And it is promising no “peer to peer traffic management” for heavy BitTorrent users, rather like its smaller competitors ViewQwest and MyRepublic.
Competition is a good thing for consumers, isn’t it?