Though FTTH (fiber to the home) is considered the best service for people to access to Internet, it is still not the choice of the majority of Vietnamese people. A report published by the English-language news website VietNamNet Bridge on February 13 gave an insight into solutions to heat up the FTTH market.

The latest survey conducted in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the two biggest FTTH service markets in Vietnam, has found that only 7 percent of businesses use FTTH, a very low figure compared to the 37 percent in the Republic of Korea, 21 percent in Hong Kong and 50 percent in Singapore.

Advanced technology inaccessible to users

FTTH has been utilised in Vietnam for seven years. From the very beginning, it was believed to replace the ADSL technology because it allows Internet users to better access Internet-based facilities, such as watching films or TV programmes, playing games.

However, it seemingly would take a longer time than initially expected to make FTTH more popular. One of the biggest barriers that keep clients away is the high fee.

Though mobile network operators have been trying to encourage people to use FTTH by offering fee discounts, the number of users has not seen considerable increases. People believe that the FTTH service fee is still not low enough, while ADSL is still “acceptable”.

Analysts have pointed out that one of the other problems is that the products are not diversified enough to satisfy different groups of customers. FTTH has been automatically understood by people as the “luxurious” or “high-end” service, which is reserved only for the big enterprises with strong financial capability.

The monthly subscription of millions of dong proved to be unaffordable to the majority of Vietnamese families. Therefore, most of them still use ADSL even though they have been warned about the upcoming end of the ADSL era.

Popularising high-end services

Despite the low percentage of FTTH service subscribers, telcos still hope that they have great opportunities to develop in the home market.

Analysts have commented that the service provider who can provide services at reasonable fees will be the winner in the market competition.

At a workshop about the future of the Internet economy held in late 2013, experts affirmed ADSL will not be able to satisfy the services of the future due to the low and unstable quality.

A question raised was that which technology will replace ADSL? Two options were predicted: FTTH with outstanding advantages, or Internet on TV cable system.

FTTH proves to be the most perfect solution, except the high service fee. If the problem can be settled, FTTH will surely be the growing tendency among Internet users.

In fact, telcos have been moving ahead with their plans to target medium class clients and individual clients instead of focusing on high income earners as they did previously.

The military telco Viettel is believed to be the pioneer in popularising FTTH service. The subscribers of Eco FTTH of Viettel now have to pay 350,000 VND (roughly 16.58 USD) a month only to use the 12 Mbps bandwidth, just a little higher than the ADSL subscription fee.

Other big guys are believed to join the race of lowering the service fee soon, which will heat up the FTTH market.-VNA