Earlier this month, Telkom Akses announced its 10Gbps Internet infrastructure project. The wholly owned subsidiary of Telkom plans to link up 20 million homes to the internet using fiber optic cables, unifying its currently diversified network. The project sounds quite ambitious but if executed well, will help the country catch up with the rest of the region as far as internet penetration and connection quality are concerned.
The technology that Telkom Akses will be using is called XGPON or 10GPON, short for 10 Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Network. The standard, which was ratified in 2010 allows theoretically 10 Gbps downstream connection direct to homes. Existing networks only allow up to 1Gbps connection so this massive increase in speed limit will allow for much faster services being delivered to home internet subscribers.
American telco Verizon had trialled this technology in 2010 and Google recently began research into incorporating it into its fiber networks in the US. BT also successfully ran a trial for XGPON in the UK back in 2012.
Of course, being a theoretical limit, it’s unlikely for a single home to actually receive 10Gbps connection speed, because it’s a shared connection among those connected to the same node, but it does mean that home connections can go beyond 100Mbps, which is the fastest –and most expensive– connection currently offered in Indonesia by cable provider First Media and DSL provider Telkom Speedy. This also means that much faster connections can be offered at far more affordable rates, allowing more homes and businesses to take advantage of high speed internet connections.
Such a connection will allow cloud-based services, including streaming services, to be more reliably deployed, marketed, and adopted by consumers and businesses alike, giving a massive boost to internet usage by Indonesians. According to Akamai’s latest state of of the internet report, which was for Q3 2013, Indonesia’s average Internet speed is 1.5Mbps, a 26 percent year on year improvement but still the slowest among other ASEAN nations. The Philippines is the next country up at 1.8Mbps while Vietnam has an average of 2.0Mbps.
While consumers will be able to enjoy reliable video streaming and cloud storage services over this upgraded connection, businesses and public services including hospitals will be able to deploy cloud-based enterprise resource planning services far more reliably and confidently, giving faster, more efficient workflow management and data transport capabilities across the field. Remote working will be far more acceptable as communication services, including video streaming , will become more robust. Such speeds may even be enough to deliver telepresence technologies to consumers, allowing individuals to virtually be in multiple places at once.
While Telkom Akses plans to have this deployed by 2015 to 20 million homes, to expect that Indonesians at large will be able to enjoy such massive speed upgrades by then is too optimistic a view. Telkom Speedy, the consumer-facing corporation that delivers Telkom’s internet services, currently remains unable to provide a reliable and competitive service across the board. It remains to be seen whether Telkom Akses will be offering its infrastructure as a backbone for other Internet service providers competing with Speedy.
More likely than not, companies such as Biznet and First Media will be rolling out their own XGPON infrastructure in the years to come and will be the ones offering Gigabit Internet services with far more competitive rates.