ViewQwest launches world's fastest home broadband plan

The season for broadband offers has begun, with ViewQwest firing the first salvo, launching the world's fastest home broadband plan today, three days ahead of the start of the IT Show on Thursday.

This makes Singapore the second country, after Japan, to offer such a plan, which offers 2 gigabits per second (Gbps). At $89.95 to $99.95 a month - depending on the network configuration - it is also one of the cheapest in terms of megabit per second speed.

Such speeds are typically used by businesses, but they are now also being offered to consumers, as more homes are using more Web-connected devices like computers, smartphones and tablets. The speed allows users to download a high-definition move in minutes instead of hours.

Surfing slowdown happens when multiple devices share the same household connection. Casual Web users may not notice any slowdown, but high-bandwidth applications such as video streaming and online gaming will suffer a noticeable lag.

ViewQwest chief executive Vignesa Moorthy said it is "keeping up" with rising bandwidth demands here by addressing the slowdown problem.

"Our typical target customers are households with multiple concurrent high-bandwidth users," he said. "The appetite for bandwidth grows exponentially as more devices enter our lives."

Users may need to add a network interface card to their computers, for about $50, to enjoy surfing at up to 2Gbps. They may also need to buy a special router, which costs about $600, to deliver the 2Gbps to individual devices. Without these additions, users get up to only 1Gbps on each device.

ViewQwest's existing 1Gbp plan is no longer on sale from today. The next-fastest home broadband plans available are the 1Gbp ones from MyRepublic, Singtel, StarHub and M1. MyRepublic will be announcing new broadband plans on Wednesday.

Analysts expect 1Gbps or higher-speed broadband offers to be the flavour of the month.

"With rising consumer demand for higher-speed broadband plans, it would not be a surprise," said Mr Naveen Mishra, industry principal of telecoms at market research firm Frost and Sullivan Asia-Pacific.

Student Matthias Lim, 24, said he needs a high-speed connection as he has up to four computers connected to the Internet at the same time. "My brother and I stream movies and play games on separate computers every day," he said. "A higher bandwidth will ensure that there is no lag."