S'pore fiber users not jumping on home networks

S'pore fiber users not jumping on home networks

Summary: Despite growing prevalence of fiber-to-the-home, many do not see it as a driver for adopting home networks and prefer other methods of sharing media such as cloud services or physical storage.

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Amid the roll out of nationwide fiber in Singapore, many households have yet to take advantage of the infrastructure at home to set up home networks to share files.

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For consumers like Tyler Thia, a public relations practitioner, he prefers cloud storage Dropbox or other cloud services to access a common folder and documents.

Another fiber subscriber, cabin crew Faith Tan, said her family had not set up a local home network due to wireless connectivity blindspots which she could not resolve in her multi-story home. She pointed out it was sometimes faster for her family members to pass an external hard drive around to transfer files.

It is not an issue in the set up being difficult, at least according to another fiber home user Benjamin Chew. The corporate communications manager, who has about 5 to 6 computers in the house said his family used a network attached storage (NAS).

Chew said the setting up of NAS was "quite straight forward". While there was a little configuration, most of the set up of plug-and-play, he noted.

For Michelle Lim, marketing manager at Asus's open platform sales and marketing department, fiber-to-the-home has impacted the home networking equipment market. "Basic router features are still necessary but users want more than just a basic router due to resource heavy content applications," she said.

With fiber connection, Lim added that users are using more cloud solutions to share, access and stream files and videos wirelessly.

In a report published last December, Singapore's national broadband network (NBN) infrastructure provider, OpenNet, said more than 1 in 5 Singapore households have a fiber connection.

Challenges remain for APAC home networking market
Lim said challenges still exist for the home networking equipment market in the rest of Asia-Pacific where users choose to use more basic routers over sophisticated devices.

For one, the sophistication of Internet infrastructure in each country varies. "Even [the infrastructure] in different states, provinces and regions in the country is different," she said.

"For example, in most metropolitan areas of Asia-Pacific countries, the Internet service provider can provide higher speed broadband connections by fiber, cable or high-speed ADSL. While in the suburbs, most connection are made by dial-up or average-speed ADSL," she said.

For some users in Asia-Pacific, the cost of high-speed Internet is higher compared with more develop countries in other continents. As the cost impedes the higher adoption of high-speed Internet, Lim said.

Lastly, the spread of cost-effective mobile Internet and smartphone packages in Asia-Pacific means that users are content with daily Internet in the office and on the mobile.

"Only when they feel they need to access content with huge capacity such as online games or video streaming, will they take higher-speed internet and better-feature routers at home," she added.

Topics: Fiber, Networking, Telcos, Singapore

Liau Yun Qing

About Liau Yun Qing

The only journalist in the team without a Western name, Yun Qing hails from the mountainy Malaysian state, Sabah. She currently covers the hardware and networking beats, as well as everything else that falls into her lap, at ZDNet Asia. Her RSS feed includes tech news sites and most of the Cheezburger network. She is also a cheapskate masquerading as a group-buying addict.

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