The Online Citizen

The alternative news in 1 day? (Part 29) – Cheapest broadband in the world?

The alternative news in 1 day? (Part 29) – Cheapest broadband in the world?
January 16
08:06 2014

Straits Times wrote a report on Tuesday citing that Singapore now provides one of the world’s cheapest home broadband connections. (link)

The report writes, “with a monthly fee of $49.99, the cost of each Mbps in MyRepublic’s plan is now down to five cents, compared with the previous low of 13.9 cents for each Mbps with SingTel’s 500Mbps plan, which costs $69.95 a month.”

Is it one of the cheapest or one of the most expensive?

Arguably, there may be something that is wrong with the headline, because as I understand it – if you compare the cheapest broadband plan cost on a monthly basis – Singapore may be one of the most expensive. (Not even in reference to wage that one would get in the country)

In other words, we should be comparing what is the cheapest that one can pay for broadband, instead of just comparing the cost per Mbs.

Comparison speaks for itself?

The report broke down the cost for each Mbps for different countries; 2.5 cents in South Korea, three cents in Japan and and 3.5 cents in Hong Kong.


How can we be given the impression in the article that Singapore now provides one of the world’s cheapest home broadband connections alongside other Asian technohubs with today’s launch of MyRepublic’s 1Gbps plan when Singapore’s at 5 cents is 50 to 43 per cent higher than the Asian countries – South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong?

And how is it that we can use the highest speed plan to come to the conclusion that Singapore’s broadband is “one of the world’s cheapest”? Shouldn’t we be comparing price for lower speed plans as well?

So for a change, let us look at the plans that the countries and companies used in comparison have for their cheapest plan for 100mbps.

Location Service Provider Cost for 100 mbps
South Korea CJ Hello Vision 13500 KRW (16.2 SGD)
Japan So-net Entertainment 3570 YEN (43.5 SGD)
Hong Kong HKBN 188 HKD (30.8 SGD)
Singapore M1 59 SGD
Kansas City, United States Google Fibre Free* (5mbps)

*There is no 100 mbps option for Google Fibre but users can get free internet at 5 mbps

In this regard, how many in Singapore subscribe to the highest speed plan and how little can subscribers pay to have decent internet access speed?

Uniquely Singapore!

By Leong Sze Hian


  • sgcynic

    DRUMS from our nation-building press

  • lobo_arisen

    Do you know how limited Google Fibre is in US? Most (in US) are stuck with Verizon, AT&T, etc where it is slow, expensive and limited. If you visit any tech forum (e.g Verge) and read the comments of an article related to internet, you will know how much better Singapore is.

    South Korea, however, is undoubtly the best. In fact, all I can see in the table are the ‘best’… SK, JP and HK all generate their own content quite a bit, and doesn’t have to buy as much international bandwidth, with the result that Internet is overall cheaper and faster. By putting Singapore there, you reaffirm the article’s point, rather than question it.

    Singapore generated content (for internet) is pathetic. Most of us need to go overseas (international bandwidth) for our needs. Taking this point into consideration, it actually skews the result more into Singapore’s favour. That despite paying more for international bandwidth, our local RSPs still can afford comparable pricing with the ‘best’.

    Some things can be looked at purely at the financial side of things, and I appreciate what you have done on other issues. But this one, looks to be out of your depth…

    • theonlinecitizen

      Content generation? Just to make sure we are on the same page. We are talking about consumer subscription fees for internet access right? – Terry

      • lobo_arisen

        Yes. And how much the subscription costs, is related to the cost incurred by the RSPs providing the service (amongst other costs). Local is cheaper, and international costs more.

        So, if we have a lot of local content which people access, cost to RSP is lower. They can then charge cheaper prices.

        One concern with MR is some (in hardwarezone threads) are not sure if they can fulfill their promise. M1 was oversubscribe when they offered their $39 plan, and many experienced issues..

        • theonlinecitizen

          Ok, I understand where you are coming from. Essentially you are saying that because subscribers from the other countries access data that are housed locally instead of overseas while in Singapore, most subscribers go for non-local content which makes it hard to manage the cost when retrieval of data overseas.

          But given that the bulk of data nowadays are videos, most of it via Youtube and other video hosting platforms which may not be hosted locally in the countries mentioned. Even if content are generated more in the countries mentioned, but the data would still have to be hosted on a server which may not be housed locally. Wouldn’t they face the same issue as what Singapore have then?

          As for the high price of fibre speed in Singapore. I do have to note that M1 and Starhub are pretty much helpless on the operation cost as they have to pay Singtel’s subsidiary company, Opennet for the use of the fibre optic lines which many has said it to be pretty much a monopolistic situation.

    • lobo

      You must be quite out of your depth as well. The terminology you have used are completely incorrect, out of context (we are talking about speed, not content generation. And the speed that you see, is not for international bandwidth. It is only for local.) and one of the simplest things that tech people know about providers is that they are called ISPs, not RSPs.

  • Ajeet Mehra