OpenNet subscribers grow to 250,000 in November, 150% up from the start of the year
Broadband penetration rate still at 93%, but daily usage up from 76% in 2011 to 87% in 2012
A FIBER Index Survey commissioned by OpenNet Pte Ltd shows that more than 1-in-5 households in Singapore are now using fiber connections for Internet access, IPTV and other bandwidth-intensive applications.
The survey also highlights a considerable increase in the number of broadband users accessing the Internet to download, upload and store digital content, OpenNet said in a statement. The survey was carried out by Acorn Marketing & Research Consultants.
“We found a greater satisfaction with fiber services among existing customers and an increasing demand for hassle-free online experiences among non-fiber users,” said Mark Blake, OpenNet chief executive officer.
“Requests for optical fiber broadband connections are growing consistently with seasonal spikes during local IT shows, such as the recently concluded SITEX 2012,” he added.
OpenNet – a joint venture between Axia NetMedia (Axia), Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and Singapore Power Telecommunications (SPT) – is responsible for building, managing and operating what it claims is the world’s first nationwide all-optical fiber platform.
It said this platform is the key foundation of Singapore’s Next Gen NBN (Nationwide Broadband Network), which would be able to deliver speeds of 1Gbps and above to homes, offices and premises in Singapore.
OpenNet claimed its subscriber base has grown to 250,000 in November 2012, a 150% increase from the 100,000 subscribers recorded at the start of the year.
“While the penetration of home Internet remains the same, the Fiber Index shows an increase in the frequency of Internet usage in the average household. There is also a significant jump in the number of users accessing the Internet for music and video downloads, online file storage and online conferencing.” said Blake.
The survey found that while the broadband penetration rate stayed at 93%, the Internet is becoming more important to Singaporeans with the number of respondents reporting daily usage increasing from 76% in 2011 to 87% in 2012.
Email access (84%) and video streaming (72%) remain the most popular online activities. Video downloads saw a 45% increase with 49% respondents engaging in the activity in 2012 as opposed to 27% in 2011. Music downloads saw a 31% increase with 48% respondents engaging in the activity in 2012 as opposed to 33% in 2011.
Online file storage (29%), online calls and conferencing (40%) and video content uploads (45%) all saw significant growth as opposed to the previous year.
“We also observed interesting trends in the preferred online activities among different age groups. While the younger set spends the most time on entertainment applications such as music and gaming, the older users go for more practical applications such as online banking and trading,” Blake said.
While 15-24-year-olds are more likely to spend their time downloading music, uploading photos and gaming, the 25- to 34-year-olds spend more time streaming videos and purchasing tickets or other items online. The 35 and older group spend more time engaging in online banking, trading, accessing work files and email, and blogging.
Fiber broadband trends
“It’s encouraging to see that fiber customers today are considerably more satisfied with their installation and usage experiences than they were a year ago,” Blake said.
Overall customer experience has improved with satisfaction for terminal point (TP) installations having gone up from 68% in 2011 to 84% in 2012. Among fiber broadband users, 74% are satisfied with their connection with 27% being extremely satisfied.
There is also now greater interest in fiber with 43% of users who have received a fiber broadband advertisement or promotion wanting to sign up this year as opposed to 38% of users in 2011.
The survey included feedback on regular Internet issues such as dropped connections, slow Internet during peak hours, slow streaming and download speeds, longer page load times, poor quality Internet calls, among others.
“Fiber users were found to be less likely to face problems with their connection than non-fiber users, up to almost 20% lower depending on the issues concerned,” Blake claimed.
“Most notably, fiber broadband services fared much better than non-fiber services in the areas of: Performance with multiple users engaging in online activities at the same time; performance during peak hours; and file download and page load speeds,” he added.
Some of the most compelling benefits that make users opt for a fiber broadband connection include downloading a full movie in 3-5 minutes; all members of the household being able to use the Internet at the same time without degraded performance; access to international websites at a faster speed; instant photo upload and sharing at full resolution; and faster connections to US-based TV and video services such as Hulu and Netflix.
Overall, the primary motivation behind fiber adoption remains faster Internet (65%) followed by cost efficiency (25%), better technology (7%), stable connectivity (6%), end of current contract (4%) and promotional offers (4%).
Internet usage patterns are similar across non-fiber and fiber users, with some spikes in video streaming, online banking and gaming for the latter.
The OpenNet Fiber Index survey was conducted independently among a representative sample of n=500 Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged 15 and over. All respondents were key decision makers or influencers in the choice of home broadband. Fieldwork was conducted via door-knocks and telephone interviews between Aug 24 and Sept 28 2012.