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Hong Kong best for consumer broadband and Singapore moves into the top 10

Hong Kong is confirmed as the best value on earth for consumer broadband – while Singapore joins the top ten nations worldwide for the first time – in analysis revealed today by Point Topic as part of its [url=http://point-topic.com/content/operatorSource/dslreports/Broadband%20Tariff%20Benchmark%20Report%20Q3%202010.pdf&comp_id=102745&g=3]Broadband Tariff Benchmarks – Q3 2010[/url].

The data, which is collected on a quarterly basis by industry leading analysts at Point Topic, showcases the best deals on offer to consumers around the world.

“Consumers in different countries are faced with very different broadband tariffs, dependent on geography, market and network maturity, local competition and various levels and sources of subsidy,” said Fiona Vanier, Senior Analyst at Point Topic.

In the standalone tariffs that Point Topic tracks, bandwidth can vary from 150kbps – barely qualifying as broadband – up to 1Gbps. Many come with data limits, email addresses or static IPs and that is before the ‘special offers’ are accounted for. To help comparison, Point Topic has analysed the amount a consumer will pay for a megabit of bandwidth.

For this analysis Point Topic has calculated the total cost for the first year of a broadband subscription*.

“Nine of the ten best value tariffs are either pure fibre or hybrid offerings where fibre is a significant part of the local loop. The exception is Germany where Unity Media offer a cable service that is very competitive,” said Vanier.

Rankings can change very quickly. If a particular operator upgrades its network or decides to introduce a new tariff, it can result in a significant improvement in the cost on offer to the consumer.

“Prices are stabilising in many markets around the world and overall in the last quarter there was an average increase globally. However there are plenty of countries that are still rolling out new networks and ISPs that are announcing new tariffs,” added Vanier.

“Even in relatively mature markets, like Singapore or Italy, there is room for improvement as the new tariffs from StarHub and Fastweb demonstrate.”

Faster downstream speeds do usually mean a lower price per megabit but the bandwidth has to be used for those savings to be achieved.

“Bandwidth will continue to increase as fibre edges closer to the consumer. Higher speeds generally mean better value for the consumer. All that remains is to work out how best to use it,” concluded Vanier.

* The first year of a broadband subscription includes a number of costs. In addition to the monthly rental a consumer can pay for the installation, the activation and the cost of the equipment. Adding these together and converting to a common base using purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates from the United Nations** and then calculating the amount per megabit of bandwidth produces a listing from which the lowest cost per megabit for a generally available, standalone (broadband only) tariff in each country is selected. 70 countries provided enough data to qualify for this analysis.

** [url=http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/SeriesDetail.aspx?srid=699&crid=]PPP rates from the UN as at 2008[/url].