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Singapore’s nationwide fibre network close to completion: OpenNet

Zafar Anjum | May 8, 2012
Ninety percent coverage today due to aggressive rollout, says company laying the foundation for Singapore's ultra high-speed broadband network, Singapore's Next Gen NBN.

In just three years, OpenNet has rolled out fibre to over 90 percent of Singapore's homes and businesses, the company announced today.

OpenNet was awarded the tender in September 2008 to build Singapore's next generation fibre network with construction beginning in earnest in early 2009. OpenNet is a consortium of Axia NetMedia, SingTel, SP Telecommunications and Singapore Press Holdings. It is tasked with laying the foundation for Singapore's ultra high-speed broadband network, Singapore's Next Gen NBN.

Nowhere in the world has a ubiquitous nationwide fibre-to-the-premise network been rolled out as quickly as it has in Singapore, OpenNet claimed.

The company further said it is scheduled to complete its obligations to roll out fibre to 95 percent of all Singapore premises by July 2012.

Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) allowed the network to be completed by 2015 but OpenNet had committed itself to complete the network by the middle of 2012.

Activation of fibre services started progressively from September 2010. While residential and non-residential services have only been available on the Next Gen NBN since September 2010, there are to date over 133,000 active subscribers. In the month of March 2012 alone, OpenNet added over 14,000 subscribers to the Next Gen NBN, said the company.

However, the rollout has not been problem free. OpenNet experienced installation delays for non-residential customers and extended wait times for residential customers.

In February this year, reports had emerged that OpenNet is under the government scanner and that the Singapore government is reviewing its interconnect offer (ICO).

It was also reported that another Singapore telco, StarHub, had offered help to OpenNet as a subcontractor. It wanted to help OpenNet speed up connections to Singapore's fibre broadband network.

The company said that it has been working to increase its activation capacity to reduce waiting time. From the originally contracted 2,050 activation slots per week, the capacity was raised to 2,400 slots in August 2011. Additional capacity was also added to meet surges in demand that occurred quarterly especially during the IT shows.

OpenNet has been working with the IDA to further increase capacity. The company looks forward to completing the review process with IDA and raising its activation capacity in the near future, it said in a statement.

The company also clarified that it could not engage more contractors to complete the fibre activation and installation work. "As with any commercial relationship, the details of OpenNet's contracts are confidential," said OpenNet in its statement. "However, we will provide the following clarification. In order for OpenNet to complete the rollout in 3.5 years, OpenNet must rely on SingTel as its Key Sub-contractor (KSC) for the construction of the fibre network and activating the fibre. OpenNet is pursuing all avenues in its work with its KSC to ensure we can jointly meet our rollout obligations and market demands."

"Unfortunately, some aspects of OpenNet's performance are affected by disputes with its KSC," said the company. "OpenNet has initiated a dispute resolution process to seek resolution to the disputes."

 

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