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Singapore ISP ViewQwest to start user trials of 2Gbps fiber network

The launch of the residential 2Gbps fiber network in Singapore is the second in the world, after Japan.

Blazing fast speed tests. Aloysius Low/CNET

Singapore ISP ViewQwest has announced the world's second residential fiber network capable of 2Gbps download speeds. While the company has yet to reveal a commercial plan for users -- it's set to roll out in the first half of 2015 -- some 20 to 30 of its more technically savvy customers will be invited to try out the new speeds ahead of launch.

ViewQwest's 2Gbps network arrives just as several ISPs in Singapore have announced 1Gbps plans tailored for residents in the island nation. While it's not the first on the planet -- Japan's Sony-backed ISP So-net lays claim to that title -- ViewQwest's 2Gbps put it ahead of its local competition (and the rest of the world).

The fastest fiber network in the US, Google Fiber, offers 1Gbps downloads and is only available in Kansas City, with more cities due to be added soon.

The ISP isn't the biggest or the cheapest in the market -- CEO Vignesa Moorthy admits the company has the smallest user base in the country -- but the company has been quick to roll out interesting new ideas such as a built-in VPN service that allows customers to stream content from services such as Netflix, which is not yet available in Asia.

"While most PCs at home can't handle the bandwidth," Moorthy said, "the real benefit comes from multiple PCs at home doing different things."

Moorthy added that he expects only power users to fully take advantage of the bandwidth, given that currently you'll need two network interface controllers (NIC) on a PC to allow two LAN cables each with 1Gbps of bandwidth.

These power users will also have to purchase an additional industrial-grade router costing around $500 to $800 to handle the connections.

When the company eventually rolls out its new 2Gbps plans, it expects to target users who have lots of Internet-connected devices at home that require the larger bandwidth, such as streaming or downloading files, allowing each device to use up to 1Gbps without hogging the network.

ViewQwest says this scenario doesn't require a separate industrial-grade router, and would be much easier to set up as well.