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Viewqwest: 'No more' cable and DSL in S'pore by 2017

Singapore users expected to fully adopt next-generation nationwide broadband network in five years' time; targeting tech savvy and early adopters first, key to gaining market foothold, says CEO of local Internet provider.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Local Internet services provider Viewqwest expects that in five years' time, users will fully move on from older cable and DSL broadband technology to the country's next-generation nationwide broadband network being rolled out. The company, which has been catering to the enterprise segment over the past decade, is now eyeing the consumer segment by offering targeted services.

"There will be no more cable or DSL in five years' time, those will be a thing of the past," said Vignesa Moorthy, CEO of Viewqwest, in a media briefing Thursday. He added that the company aims to capture this growth and hopes the consumer segment will match the contributions of its enterprise business eventually.

However, Moorthy emphasized that his approach was different from other service providers and he did not believe in getting into a price war in order to gain market share.

Targeting tech savvy and early adopters first
In January, Viewqwest introduced residential offerings which were priced slightly above those from its competitors. It charges S$59.95 (US$48.26) for a 100Mbps broadband line-only plan--nearly S$15 (US$12) more than what its main competitors have offered in their recent promotions.

"The difference is that we were the first not to implement a cap on international bandwidth, while other providers cap it at up to 18mbps for their basic plans for example," he added.

Moorthy explained that the prices were higher because the company needed to pay its own service providers more for the extra international bandwidth.  He noted that some Viewqwest customers have been able to achieve speeds of around 100mbps on international traffic.

The CEO added that it was more important to provide a premium service instead of competing on price, as he did not believe the ultra fast fiber broadband network had become a mass market service yet.

"Most mainstream users still do not have a strong motivation to upgrade," he said. "We sort of look at the users who will be the most likely to benefit from this at this point, and the tech savvy and early adopters are likely to be ones who will benefit most from faster speeds."

Viewqwest IPTV subscribers will receive the
Singapore version of the WD TV Live media player box
to access streaming sites.

Applications and content to drive adoption
According to Viewqwest, key to driving adoption of faster broadband speeds will be applications and content.

"When applications like videoconferencing or video-streaming become more popular, it may encourage people to get faster speeds," said Moorthy.

As part of plans to encourage take up, Viewqwest has launched a virtual private network (VPN) service, called Freedom VPN, which allows users to watch geographically specific content from both the United States and the United Kingdom.  "Users will also be able to watch on-demand Internet streaming media of popular shows from players such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and Pandora," he noted.

The company has also bundled IPTV and voice with its Fibernet broadband service--allowing users to access High-Definition Internet TV content and make unlimited local calls. Fibernet is the company's fiber optics-based broadband network open to businesses and consumers in Singapore, and comes in speeds varying from 10mbps to 1000mbps.

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