Flagship Hong Kong telco deploys super-fast VDSL to non-urban subs

World-leading broadband operator HKT is using the same hybrid-technology model as NBN Co, using Fiber + Copper to deliver improved broadband services.

Hong Kong Telecom (HKT) is one of the world’s most advanced broadband operators and recently became the first operator in the Asia Pacific region to launch commercial Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) Vectored VDSL services.

Hong Kong is – by far – one of the most heavily ‘fibred’ places on the planet, with no less than four network operators providing 1Gbps services to residential subscribers.

Network operators are keen to supply 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) services to densely populated Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs) in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, where some operators are able to install FTTP for as low as US$130 per home. However, residents of less-densely populated, largely non-urban areas in the New Territories have been far less well served. In fact, many non-urban Hong Kong homes were unable to access anything more than low-speed ADSL broadband until quite recently.

To address the needs of largely non-urban subscribers, Hong Kong Telecom launched FTTN VDSL Vectoring services, with a few thousand homes now taking services. These services are similar to what NBN Co is currently trialling and plans to launch in Australia during Q4 2015.

HKT management say that their VDSL Vectoring services are now delivering speeds of up to 100Mbps, enabling subscribers to sign up to new services including HKT’s NOW TV IPTV services, including multiple HD channels.

HKT has roughly 500,000 urban FTTP subscribers, who receive a peak average connection speed of 107Mbps. In addition, more than 80 per cent of total Hong Kong homes are able to obtain FTTP services. However, HKT has decided to keep existing copper networks in place for non-urban subscribers in order to deliver upgraded services sooner and at a substantially lower cost via VDSL Vectoring.

HKT management indicated that they will very likely deploy G.Fast next-generation copper acceleration technology – only recently standardised by the ITU – to deliver ultra-fast broadband services to MDUs where they cannot install new fibre networks.

The move by HKT to use VDSL Vectoring is another demonstration of how even the world’s leading operators are taking the ‘hybrid broadband’ approach to network deployment. By using a range of deployment technologies to deliver improved speeds, HKT is able to provide high speed services in areas where an FTTP rollout would be far too expensive and time consuming.