The OpenNet consortium, comprising Singapore Telecommunications, Canada’s Axia NetMedia, newspaper publishing group Singapore Press Holdings and Singapore Power’s telecoms unit, has bagged the contract to build the city-state’s proposed ultra high speed broadband network. In a press statement last Friday, Singapore’s telecoms regulator the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) said ‘OpenNet’s proposal offers attractive wholesale prices that can stimulate a vibrant and competitive retail market.’ The consortium will be responsible for building the fibre infrastructure of the new network. OpenNet beat rival bids from StarHub’s Infinity consortium, which includes the country’s third largest mobile operator MobileOne Asia (M1) and Middle Eastern investment group Qatar Investment Authority.
The plan to construct the so-called ‘Next Generation National Broadband Network (NGNBN)’ is core to IDA’s Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015) policy programme, designed to provide the city-state with seamless high speed connectivity. The planned NGNBN will allow users to access the internet at speeds of at least 1Gbps once it is completed in 2015. OpenNet is looking to speed up its rollout timetable, however, and aims to have 60% of homes and businesses hooked up to the new network by 2010, rising to 95% coverage by 2012. OpenNet has proposed a wholesale rate of SGD15 (USD10.50) per month for a residential fibre connection and SGD50 for a business line. These rates would be offered to third-party operators, which will repackage retail services to end users at a higher rate. The Singapore government is supporting the OpenNet bid with a grant of up to SGD750 million.