In the U.S. if you want a 50 Mbps-to-a-100 Mbps connection, it is going to cost you plenty – about $105 with a triple play plan. On the other side of the planet, however, you can buy 1 Gbps broadband for $20 a month.


In the U.S., if you want a 50- to 100-Mbps connection, it is going to cost you plenty: about $105 with a triple play plan. On the other side of the planet, however, you can buy a 1 Gbps broadband connection for $20 a month, as long as you sign-up for a 24-month triple play contract with Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited, a division of local Internet service provider, City Telecom.

The same company had launched 100 Mbps to the home back in 2005. In February 2010, you could buy the 1 Gbps connection for $215 a month. According to the Akamai State of the Internet report, at the end of 2010, Hong Kong was the fastest place in the world when ranked by average peak connection speeds of 37.9 Mbps.

The reason it can offer at such low prices is the low cost of passing each home with fiber — it’s about $200 per home. Hong King is an extremely dense environment, and that lowers the cost of the network buildout. At present, HKBN has about a million homes passed for its fiber network and is on target to hit 2 million homes passed by end of 2011.

In the U.S., there are a few pockets that will or do have access to low cost 1 Gbps fiber connectivity — the cities of Chattanooga, Tenn. and Kansas City, Kan., for example. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in an interview with GigaOM said that fiber is the key to future Internet innovation.

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  1. I have 100mbit in SF for $45/month.

    1. Robert,

      Is that Verizon FiOS?

    2. It’s SF, which is land-locked on 3 sides by water.

  2. Hi,

    I would take that speed with a grain of salt – I subscribed to HKBB (Hong Kong broadband) 100 Mbp/s for a while around those rates and the speed was crap, PCCW (Pacific Century CyberWorks) 100 Mbps/s is several times. Probably as important as the speed from your home to the ISP are the connections/capacities the ISPs have to the outside world. Disclaimer: I have no personal/financial connections with either of the companies.


  3. And your point is……? Did you know I can get a house in Bangladesh for 30 cents?

  4. Christopher Mitchell Friday, June 3, 2011

    FYI, I believe Chelan PUD in Washington State has rolled out 1Gbps in most of the areas they are offering services. They have or soon will make it available to the ISPs operating on the network they run on a wholesale basis.

  5. “24-month triple play contract”

    That’s lock-in!

    Seriously, who needs another phone number? Doesn’t everyone in Hong Kong already have a mobile device?

  6. There is the fine print.

    The advertised 1 Gbps speeds, with FibreHome1000, are only for access within Hong Kong. Speeds for international Internet are much lower.

    This used to be stated prominently on HKBN’s website, but seems to have been removed.

    Fast Internet worldwide http://www.simplerna.com/2011/01/fastest-internet-plans-worldwide.html

    1. Wai Yip Tung RM Friday, June 3, 2011

      This is indeed the case. I was drooling for a 100M connection awhile back, figuring it will still be 10x faster than my ADSL if I only get half as much as promised. When I connect to a US server, which is 90% of my usage, I get about 3M. I might as well get a 3G modem.

    2. >The advertised 1 Gbps speeds, with FibreHome1000, are only for access >within Hong Kong. Speeds for international Internet are much lower.

      That’s the same everywhere.

      In US FiOS is advertised as 40mbps. Good luck trying to get anywhere remotely close to that speed when you’re assessing an oversea server.

  7. I guess Asian phone companies aren’t as greedy as ATT and Verizon.

    1. C’mon Ed, we’re comparing grapes to watermelons.

      I think it’s time for a Godwin-like law that substitutes “greed” for “Nazi”.

  8. …and a chance to get monitored/censored by the ChiComs!? What a bargain.

    1. Hong Kong is outside the Great Firewall for your information.

  9. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Something else to keep in mind: I doubt HK negotiations between broadband companies and local government councils involve as much backscratching and graft as they do in the US. There’s a byzantine mess of local regulations and requirements that cost as much in legal and civic fees as the actual fiber plant, a barrier to entry that favors well-connected incumbents, and resulting in most places having at best 2 choices for home broadband.

  10. Shannon Love Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Hong Kong has a population density of 6480[8]/km2 (4th)
    16,576/sq mi. Austin, TX (as a typical American city) has a population density of 1,207.2/km2 (3,126.6/sq mi).

    You can reach a lot more customers with a lot less fiber cable in Hong Kong than you can in most of America. It the same reason cell phones are always smaller in Asia. It takes a larger antenna and larger batteries for a cell phone in most of America.

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