HKT: I’ll see your gigabit and raise you 10G

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Updated: Hong Kong has the world’s fastest Internet speeds. With the news that Hong Kong Telecom (HKT) is launching the world's first 10G broadband service for consumers, it looks like the city will retain that accolade for a good while longer.

Rival operator Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) made headlines back in 2005 when it launched gigabit services to all the homes on its residential fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network – the first operator to make the move to gigabit speeds.

Now HKT has upped the ante. Owned by PCCW, HKT is the largest operator in the region with more than half a million FTTH subscribers. Upon its commercial launch, all premises within HKT’s FTTH footprint – comprising more than 80 per cent of Hong Kong households and increasing – will have the opportunity to enjoy ultra-fast network speeds of 10Gb/s.

Following the pilot phase, which starts immediately, HKT will make its NETVIGATOR 10G PON service available to all residential and business customers in the general commercial launch targeted for the third quarter of this year. HKT did not give any details on price.

The operator equipment that powers the 10G connections "conforms to the XG-PON1 definition of ITU-T G.987 standard", a company spokesperson told Fibre Systems. Consumers are advised that, to benefit from the faster speeds, they need a 10 Gigabit Ethernet card or adaptor and an i7 CPU, at least 16GB RAM and a solid-state hard drive (SSD).

Alex Arena, group managing director of HKT, said: “HKT has the unique capability of offering this service to everyone under our FTTH footprint because of the investments that we have made in the past in building an extensive fibre-rich network to handle technological evolution. Because of our abundant fibre resources, incremental cost for the deployment of 10G service to meet customer demand is also well contained within our normal capital expenditure budget.”

As for whether customers really need that kind of speed, HKT says 10G broadband is ideal for home office workers and entertainment services, as well as “those who simply aspire for the great and better things in life”. For instance, it would take only about 20 seconds to download a typical HD movie with a file size of 25G using 10Gb/s broadband. The same download would take more than 33 minutes on a 100Mb/s service.

"Our data show that a considerable portion of our FTTH customers are using 500Mb/s service or above, and we believe there is strong potential for customer upgrades," said Arena.

“We know that Hong Kong consumers demand the best and enjoy having world-leading services available quickly,” he added.

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