The Straits Times reports that OpenNet, the Singaporean venture set up to build out the country’s Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NGNBN), has rejected M1 Limited’s latest offer to act as a sub-contractor for the firm, in order to ease delays in connecting people to the ultra-high speed network. In a further disappointing development, citizens of the city-state currently awaiting connection to the NGNBN also learn that OpenNet is still dithering on whether to take-up a similar offer from another local telco, StarHub. Problems with hooking people up to the new system first surfaced last June, with reports that customers were having to wait up to six weeks for a connection. The block was traced to OpenNet, which has to activate the fibre-optic cables for end users to get broadband connectivity after signing up with internet service providers (ISPs) like SingTel, StarHub and M1.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that in February this year Singapore’s telecoms market regulator, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), intervened in a bid to speed up the pace of deployment of the nationwide broadband network. In the wake of a review started in December 2011, the watchdog has highlighted a number of areas where OpenNet is failing – such as order quotas for business and homes, delays in installations in commercial buildings and gaps in service offerings. It was rumoured at the time that as part of planned improvements, the IDA is looking to amend OpenNet’s interconnection offer with the seven operating companies on the NGNBN – including SingTel and StarHub. By January 2012 the number of people subscribing to the city-state’s new ultra-high speed broadband network reached the 100,000 mark – or roughly one in ten households. However, at that date coverage had only been extended to 86% of the population, with only four months to go before the mid-2012 deadline of coverage of 95%.