Access to superfast broadband and speedy 4G services – that’s the standard across Asia, right? Countries such as South Korea (27 Mbps), Japan (19.5 Mbps) and Singapore (17.2 Mbps) tend to have consistent, high-quality connectivity. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case across the region.
In India, the average speed is only 3.6 Mbps. Although there’s investment in broadband across rural areas, broadband speeds in the Philippines and Vietnam are three times slower than Singapore, averaging 4 to 5 Mbps.
The role broadband plays as an enabler cannot be underestimated. For small businesses, reliable broadband provides the opportunity to reach a global audience – and could even be the difference between success and failure. For the elderly or hard-to-reach individuals, reliable connectivity access can prevent issues such as social isolation and loneliness.
Addressing the connectivity challenge
It will be critical for this region to continue to invest in broadband infrastructure in order to be economically competitive, meeting the demands of businesses and consumers. With broadband and - increasingly - 4G mobile services becoming ever-present in many people’s everyday lives, it is critical that markets across the region have the same access to the opportunities it enables. For example, reliable video-on-demand, online gaming, teleworking and e-Health services will require operators to improve their capability to carry large amounts of data.
One way the industry could seek to address this challenge is through Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) technology, widely considered the fastest and most reliable way to access the Internet. FTTH has the potential to open the door to a wide range of services and applications, both for entertainment and productivity, delivered right to the home or office.
Singapore is turning to fibre to meet today and tomorrow’s expanding bandwidth needs.
Ninety-five percent of households have access to fiber to the home (FTTH) network speeds and 46 percent have subscribed to it. In Indonesia, the volume of data traffic is expected to increase six-fold, from 84 exabytes in 2014 to 656 exabytes by 2020. The government is looking to push fiber and 4G coverage nationwide. In Thailand, the government is aiming to deliver 100Mbps fibre optic services to key cities and regional areas of commerce by 2020.
While access to fibre will play a critical role in supporting the growth and development of small businesses, as well as connecting families and friends across the globe, we must not ignore the key role mobile coverage plays as well.
Whether inside a large building, a crowded area or even a rural region, operators must also consider the importance of access to speedy and reliable mobile phone coverage. Wi-Fi isn’t always available, and sometimes provides inconsistent and even insecure access to networks, so therefore, 4G must be available for consumers and businesses alike. High-speed fibre broadband and cellular connectivity supports economic growth and an improved quality of life for everyone. And this should be available across all parts of the country – no matter how rural or hard-to-reach.
With subscribers clamouring for more and more bandwidth and a higher quality of service, network operators must continue to look for faster ways to deploy high-speed mobile and broadband networks – and fibre should play a key role as part of these pledges.