FTTP or HFC? How about both?

Singaporean operator StarHub is offering subscribers a ground-breaking two-for-the-price-of-one broadband service

Times are tough for Singaporean broadband operator StarHub as competition from new players such as M1 and My Republic on the all Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) Next Generation National Broadband Network(NGNBN) gets ever hotter – but the operator has come up with a cunning plan.

While domestic broadband leader SingTel is hurriedly getting legacy ADSL subscribers off its copper network onto FTTP, StarHub is still sitting on a HFC network capable of delivering 100Mbps – and the operator is now trying to capitalise on that asset.

To do that StarHub has launched a new ‘two-for-the-price-of-one’ service where subscribers signing up for an S$69/month 1Gbps FTTP service on the NGNBN also get a 100Mbps HFC service too –not the sort of deal you hear of too often.

What the….? 

Given that all-you-can-eat 1Gbps broadband is now being offered for just S$49 per month by M1, My Republic and SingTel, it may seem somewhat redundant for anyone to need a 100Mbps service if they are already piping an ultra-cheap 1Gbps service into their home.

However, the StarHub offer is not about providing extra bandwidth, the firm is marketing the dual-broadband service on the fact that with two modems in the home they can provide top-class wi-fi coverage throughout the home.

Moreover, to make sure that subscribers get absolutely premium wi-fi services, StarHub engineers conduct a free in-home wi-fi assessment to advise on how the best potential coverage can be achieved.

Worth a go

The StarHub offer is clearly one of the more unique offers in the broadband market – and Singapore’s situation is an outlier – but it is important for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it demonstrates that fully monetised legacy assets such as HFC networks – or even mobile networks –can be used in an effective way by incumbent operators as part of a bundling promotion and we are also seeing this in Germany with Deutsch Telekom’s VDSL + LTE promotion.

Secondly, StarHub’s focus on providing premium in-home wi-fi shows once again that with the number of internet connected devices increasing that wi-fi is becoming an ever more important access tool that operators ignore at their peril.