M1 rolls out super-fast fibre broadband service for businesses

Mobile operator M1 has launched a super-fast fibre broadband service for businesses that send and receive large files.

Available now, the service ranges from 2Gbps to 10Gbps. M1 is the first telco to offer bandwidths exceeding 2Gbps.

Subscriptions start from $1,088 a month for a 2Gbps service; companies that want 10Gbps pay $2,888 a month. Subscriptions cover the optical network equipment, a box that connects the fibre to computing devices.

Mr Willis Sim, M1's chief product development and corporate solutions officer, said yesterday that the new service will enable M1 to stay ahead of the competition.

"We upgraded our network equipment, so the existing fibre can be upgraded to 10Gbps."

Businesses will be able to configure the bandwidth to suit their own requirements, he pointed out. For example, a client subscribing to a 10Gbps plan can split it into a 5Gbps service for surfing and five 1Gbps services for five users.

M1 is targeting sectors such as media and entertainment, printing and creative industries, which need to send and receive large amounts of data quickly.

"We recognise that there is pent-up demand for a scalable and cost-effective connectivity service, especially from businesses with high bandwidth requirements such as gaming and media companies - something not available previously," said Mr Sim.

This ultra-fast service will be available to consumers as well, before the year-end. But they will pay much lower subscriptions - businesses usually demand far higher quality levels, which add to costs.

M1 is waiting for fibre terminal equipment prices for homes to fall before rolling out the service to consumers.

Industry analyst Clement Teo said the service is a good move by M1 as it caters to different levels of broadband consumption.

"M1 is trying to calibrate the demand for this service. It is trying to capture companies whose appetites for bandwidth are increasing but not hitting the 10Gbps limit yet," said Mr Teo, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.

Demand for 10Gbps services is still modest, he noted, but he believes that, in the next 18 to 24 months, interest will grow.

"Start-ups could buy the 10Gbps service, wrap some feature around it, such as security, and re-sell it to businesses."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'M1 rolls out super-fast fibre broadband service for businesses'. Print Edition | Subscribe