Thursday, September 25, 2008

Singapore Chooses OpenNet for Next Gen Fiber Project

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has selected the OpenNet consortium as its successful Network Company (NetCo).
OpenNet will be contracted to provide passive fibre grid services for Singapore's Next Generation National Broadband Network (NGNBN). OpenNet will be making use of existing ducts and other underlying infrastructure, thereby minimizing disruption to the public and enabling the network to reach homes and buildings nationwide by 2012.


The OpenNet consortium consists of Axia-Netmedia (30%), Singapore Telecommunications (30%), Singapore Press Holdings (25%) and SP Telecommunications Pte Ltd (15%).


OpenNet expects to complete the agreement contracting process with the IDA as planned within the next seven months and expects that the Singapore-wide fiber grid will be completed by June 2012. This fiber grid will be made available on equal terms at very compelling prices to any parties qualified by the IDA.


Art Price, Chairman and CEO, Axia NetMedia, said: "OpenNet's approach is future-proof with no compromises from either the technology or business structure perspectives for the passive segment of the network. I believe that Singapore will be the showcase for how compelling the no-conflict open access fibre-to-the-premise solution can be for end-users in metropolitan communities."


A key component of the solution involves OpenNet acquiring access to existing infrastructure through usage fees that vary
with the market adoption of OpenNet's services.


This is the first part of IDA's competitive RFP process for a complete Next Generation National Broadband Network. The second part is the provision of active broadband services over the fiber grid.


Some key elements of the project:

  • As the selected NetCo, OpenNet will design, build and operate the passive infrastructure of the Next Gen NBN that will be capable of delivering speeds of up to 1 Gbps and beyond.


  • The Government of Singapore will provide a grant of up to S$750 million to the NetCo to support the network rollout.


  • OpenNet will offer attractive wholesale prices of S$15 per month per residential fiber connection and S$50 per month per non-residential fiber connection, to the Operating Companies or OpCos. Such wholesale prices are expected to bring about competitive retail prices in the ultra-high speed broadband market.


  • To encourage premise owners to connect their homes and businesses to the network, OpenNet is required to waive installation charges for home and building owners when the network first reaches their premises.


  • Under a Universal Service Obligation, which will take effect from 2013, OpenNet will also fulfill all subsequent requests to install fibre termination points in homes, offices and buildings.


  • In its proposal, OpenNet will deploy and own all the fibre optic cables and offer wholesale dark fibre services to downstream operators on a non-discriminatory basis as set out in the RFP.


  • OpenNet will make use of relevant existing underlying passive infrastructure assets, such as ducts, manholes and exchanges, belonging to its partner, SingTel, to facilitate the deployment of its fibre network.


  • As part of OpenNet's proposal, SingTel has committed to transfer these underlying assets to a neutral party within 24 months of the NetCo's Contractual and Financial Close, or CFC in short. The CFC will take place within seven months of the project award (September 2008).


  • A neutral party, called the Asset Company or AssetCo, will be an independent and separately managed company. It will be owned by a registered business trust or will be structured in a similar manner to be approved by IDA. SingTel, as a member of OpenNet, has also committed to reduce its stake in this AssetCo within five years of the CFC and seek the relevant shareholders' and regulatory approvals, where required. As part of the successful close of the RFP, SingTel is also required to submit to IDA for approval, a detailed implementation plan on the formation of the AssetCo and subsequent partial divestment of its relevant underlying assets.


http://www.ida.gov.sghttp://www.axia.com

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