OpenNet passes buck on NG-NBN delays

Dylan Bushell-Embling
09 May 2012

OpenNet - the joint venture set up to operate Singapore's NG-NBN network - has attempted to share the blame for delays connecting and activating customers, including with arbitration proceedings against partner SingTel.

At a press conference to address OpenNet's handling of NG-NBN activations, CEO Khoo Chin Hean revealed it had commenced a dispute resolution process with SingTel that is likely to lead to arbitration, Staits Timessaid.

SingTel is OpenNet's key subcontractor for the NG-NBN fiber network, and a joint owner in the venture.

OpenNet has come under sustained criticism for its performance in handling NG-NBN activations and service provision.

While the company is supposed to activate residential and business connections within three to 10 business days of an application, in extreme cases some customers have reportedly had to wait up to six months.

Both retail service providers and the Infocomm Development Agency of Singapore have pressured the company to cut down on service activation and installation delays, as well as wholesale pricing.

But at the press conference, Khoo said that SingTel and other companies should share the blame for the delays.

As well as its dispute with SingTel affecting “some aspects of its performance,” Khoo fingered NG-NBN ISPs for allegedly withholding information about projected subscriber growth figures, Today Onlinereported.

SingTel and the other operators Today Online spoke to defended their actions. SingTel insisted its infrastructure is instrumental to the NG-NBN rollout, and the ISPs rejected claims that withholding subscriber projections should be impacting OpenNet's ability to fulfil demand.

SingTel rivals have also questioned the operator's role in the NG-NBN network, stating that it may be a conflict of interest.

OpenNet had been tasked with ensuring the NG-NBN covers 95% of Singapore by mid-2012. Khoo said coverage was currently around 90%, and the company will work hard to meet the target by July.

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