SGD1 billion up for grabs for NBN winners

10 Apr 2008

SGD1 billion (USD725 million) of public funds is the amount that will be made available to private sector companies looking to take part in building and operating the island’s upcoming ultra-high speed National Broadband Network (NBN), reports Computerworld Singapore. Regulator the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has announced that the money will be split between an operating company (OpCo), receiving SGD250 million, and a network company (NetCo), which will get SGD750 million. The OpCo is responsible for designing, building and operating the active infrastructure layer of the network, while the NetCo is in charge of the construction, deployment and maintenance of the network’s passive infrastructure. Also, the OpCo will operate the telecommunications switches distributing broadband access to downstream operators marketing services to end-users, while the NetCo will lay the fibre-optic cables which will form the basis of the network.

Earlier this week the IDA put forward a request-for-proposal (RFP) for the OpCo part of the NBN. The RFP followed an earlier pre-qualification programme which shortlisted eleven companies: Alcatel-Lucent, Axia NetMedia, BT Singapore, City Telecom (Hong Kong), Deutsche Telekom Asia, MobileOne, NTT West, Nokia Siemens Networks, Singapore Computer Systems, Singapore Telecommunications and Starhub. The IDA stipulates that the selected OpCo will have to be ‘operationally separate’ from downstream operators in order for ‘open access’ to take place. Furthermore the OpCo is expected to meet a target of 330,000 residential and 80,000 non-residential subscribers by 2015.

Computerworld adds that an RFP for the NetCo was announced last December. The winning tender for the NetCo is scheduled to be announced in the third quarter of 2008, while the winning tender for the OpCo is expected to be revealed in the first quarter of 2009.