OpenNet promises network within 2 years - May 06, 2008 (BT)

BackMay 06, 2008

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

OpenNet promises network within 2 years

It says users won't pay more for higher speed broadband.

By Amit Roy Choudhury
May 06, 2008
The Business Times

OPENNET, which along with the Infinity Consortium is vying to build Singapore's Next Generation National Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN), said yesterday it would complete the network rollout by June 2010.

At a press conference yesterday, Art Price, chairman and CEO of Canada-based Axia NetMedia Corporation (Axia NetMedia), the OpenNet consortium lead, said OpenNet can deliver a resilient tamper-proof fibre-to-the-home network at least two and a half years ahead of schedule of the iN2015 vision.

'OpenNet is positioned to complete the network rollout by June 2010,' Mr Price said.

The Next Generation National Broadband Network is part of Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's (IDA) Intelligent Nation 2015 or iN2015 blueprint to turn Singapore into a sophisticated city with seamless connectivity.

The OpenNet consortium comprises Axia NetMedia, Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel), Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) and SP Telecommunications Pte Ltd (SPT).

Axia successfully operates open access next generation networks in Alberta, Canada and in France. Mr Price said that his company specialises in guaranteed 'open access and no customer conflict' next generation networks.

'We are excited to be working in Singapore to help deliver this 'no-compromise' foundation that will put Singapore in the global lead,' Mr Price said.

He added that OpenNet was the first instance in Axia's experience where an incumbent telco - SingTel - is willingly moving from a situation of virtual infrastructure monopoly to open access to infrastructure.

Mr Price added that the network is specifically designed to enable choice by OpenNet customers, large and small.

The Axia official noted that OpenNet's proposal exceeds the requirements of the government and its iN2015 blueprint, particularly in areas such as timeline and design.

Allen Lew, SingTel's Singapore CEO, noted that the consortium planned to leverage his company's existing extensive high-quality network of ducts and the work SingTel has already done in the rollout of an ultra-fast broadband network.

'With SingTel's technical expertise and reputation for delivering reliable telecommunications services, we will ensure that OpenNet delivers the next generation network better and faster,' Mr Lew said.

Mr Lew noted that SingTel is working with SPT to provide the extent and coverage of ducts that are required for the network.

'If you look at SingTel's duct network alone, it's already larger than StarHub. If you combine it with SPT, it far surpasses what StarHub has,' Mr Lew said. SingTel's ducts are buried one metre beneath the surface.

SPH, meanwhile, believes that the new network will enhance the content and delivery of its many interactive digital media products and at the same time, provide increased connectivity which will boost Singapore's economic and social growth.

Alan Chan, SPH's CEO, noted: 'As a media conglomerate, SPH reaches out to consumers on various platforms. Some of our latest interactive digital media offerings like STOMP, Omy, ST701, Rednano and soon, The Straits Times Razor TV, would definitely benefit from this National Broadband Network.'

Mr Chan added that the (OpenNet) consortium signals the convergence of media, telecommunications, Internet and information technology, which is already taking place in other parts of the world.

'As part of this consortium, SPH is proud to play a pivotal role to grow the infocomm industry in Singapore,' he added.

SPT's director Sim Kwong Mian noted that his company 'is privileged to be part of this resourceful team'.

Mr Sim added: 'With our proven track record in building infrastructure network, we bring to the consortium our experience in rolling out duct and fibre infrastructure to customers in both the business and residential areas.'

Axia's Mr Price noted that the new network, which is likely to be around 10,000-km-long and will bring fibre to every address in Singapore, is not going to mean that consumers will pay more for higher speed broadband.

'It's not going to cost more money but it will be a big jump in performance. We are not looking at a situation where you adopt new technology and there is a huge jump in pricing - the quality of service will go up exponentially at the same price point.'