Consortium to bid for S'pore's ultra high-speed broadband network - May 05, 2008 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Consortium to bid for S'pore's ultra high-speed broadband network

Axia NetMedia Corporation, Singapore Telecommunications, Singapore Press Holdings and SP Telecommunications will jointly bid to build Singapore's ultra high-speed broadband network.

May 05, 2008
The Straits Times

A CONSORTIUM formed by Axia NetMedia Corporation, Singapore Telecommunications, Singapore Press Holdings and SP Telecommunications will jointly bid to build Singapore's ultra high-speed broadband network.

Axia NetMedia and SingTel will each have 30 per cent stake in the consortium, while media group SPH will hold 25 per cent and SP Telecommunications, 15 per cent.

The Axia-led consortium, named OpenNet, submitted a bid earlier on Monday in response to the Request for Proposal for the Next Generation National Broadband Network - Network Company (NetCo) by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).

Its proposal exceeds the requirements of the government and its iN2015 blueprint, particularly in areas such as timeline and design.

OpenNet proposes a comprehensive plan for a truly open, better and faster fibre-to-the-home network with guaranteed success, which the entire Singapore population can enjoy.

In the proposal, OpenNet will leverage on SingTel's existing extensive high-quality ducting network and turn it into an ultra-fast broadband network.

Reliability is also guaranteed as the subterranean ducting system is least vulnerable to damage, said a joint statement from the four parties on Monday.

'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,' added the statement.

'The strengths and experience of each member place the consortium in the best position to bring competition and choice to the market.'

Proven track record
Canada-based Axia NetMedia has extensive experience in planning, designing and operating truly open access no-conflict next generation networks in Canada and Europe. Their business model drives healthy competition in the market which gives consumers choice and new offerings at affordable prices.

With SingTel's ownership of and SPT's access to existing critical infrastructure, as well as their technical expertise, the consortium can leverage on and turn the infrastructure into true ultra-fast broadband networks in a much shorter turnaround time to deliver the next generation NBN and at a fraction of the costs compared to a greenfield operation.

There will also be minimal public inconvenience such as roadworks to lay the fibres and cables.

SPH 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.

Mr Art Price, Chairman and CEO, Axia NetMedia, said: 'Axia successfully operates Open Access next generation networks in Alberta, Canada and France which give us a unique perspective. We have been very impressed with the sophisticated approach taken by the IDA and our partners in this consortium.'

'Axia 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 Allen Lew, SingTel's CEO Singapore, said: 'OpenNet's plan is to leverage SingTel?s existing extensive high-quality network of ducts and the work we have 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.'

'We are confident that SingTel's infrastructure and collaboration with OpenNet have resulted in a solution that is unrivalled in its network rollout speed and quality as well as its ability to drive take-up. We look forward to supporting IDA in its effort to shape the future of the Singapore infocomm market.'

Mr Alan Chan, SPH's CEO, said the 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.

Mr Sim Kwong Mian, Director, SPT, said with its proven track record in building infrastructure network, it brings to the consortium its experience in rolling out duct and fibre infrastructure to customers in both the business and residential areas.'

'In doing so, we will be contributing towards enhancing the economy and quality of life of Singaporeans, and realising IDA's vision of positioning Singapore as a global infocomm hub,' said Mr Sim.

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