Sui-Lun Lo, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Owner, HKBN, Hong Kong is speaking on Day One of the Broadband Asia conference, taking place on the 29th-30th April 2014 at the Suntec, Singapore. Ahead of the conference we catch-up with him about how the pioneering work he’s done hooking up the famous city-state to superfast fibre connections.
HKBN offers both high-speed connections and ultra-competitive pricing, something with which most ISPs round the world struggle. How do you achieve this? What’s your secret sauce?
Our success could be difficult to be replicated anywhere else. The reason why we could achieve what we did is because of the unique situation in Hong Kong. The gross area of Hong Kong is around 1,000sq/km, but we have a population of seven million. In addition, the urban area is only around 300sq/km. Thus, the population density is very high. We were able to achieve ever better economies of scale as we covered more people with every kilometre of fibre, and, in addition, we could achieve higher speeds as the distance between the user and our exchange is shorter.
Is there any real need to move to 1Gbps connections?
The answer is no—if you limit yourselves to current applications. However, as you move more of your data to the cloud then you will find a 1Gbps connection is a requirment. If you have ever tried to copy your 500GB data from your old PC to a new PC with a 100Mbps Fast Ethernet connection then you will share that view.
What are the latest developments in traffic optimisation, and is traffic management necessary?
We are moving into the next stage of broadband development. In the first 10 years, we focused on the network development—how to provide 100Mbps or above connection service to the customers. Now, we are moving Internet content closer to the user. It is similar to how with Google or Wikipedia information is at your fingertips. Our aim is to make a user’s content available to them as if it is located on their local hard disk.
Cloud computing is almost a cliché, but how important a part of your strategy is it?
In the past, we listened to the music via CD but it was an inconvenience as there are only a few of our favourite songs on each disc. The introduction of MP3 was akin to the discovery of America by Columbus. The importance of MP3 is not the sound quality but the convenience, especially when you store the songs on a media server, and we can have playlists, shuffle, and so forth. But what if the songs are stored in the cloud? We can bring that convenience to us anywhere. So, cloud is a must, not just for corporates—it is equally important to mass market. Our aim is to bring people closer. It is more than globalisation, but also with zero distance.
Why is the Broadband Asia conference such an important date in your diary?
We are not alone on this planet—we need to keep pace with the market developments. The experience from other market may not necessarily be able to be applied in Hong Kong, but we could learn from it.
The Broadband Asia conference is taking place on the 29th-30th April 2014 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure.