OpenNet's NBN challenge: Winning customers

Michael O'Loughlin
17 Jun 2009
00:00
News
Daily News

The hardest thing about building Singapore’s next-gen broadband infrastructure is creating customer demand, says Tan Kah Rhu, the head of the startup that is rolling out the network.

Mrs Tan is CEO of OpenNet, the SingTel-backed joint venture that nine months ago won the national tender to build out passive infrastructure.

Working against tough deadlines, Tan’s job is to win over town councils, estates and householders to roll out the 100Mbps network as quickly as possible.

Under its license, Open Net is obliged to extend the NBN to 60% of Singapore by the end of next year and 95% by 2012.

But the new firm needed “high-speed, high-bandwidth applications” to drive take-up of the network, Tan told a press briefing yesterday.

Tan, who was previously SingTel’s VP for access and transmission engineering, said Open Net’s shareholders would spend more than S$100 million on the rollout to reach the 95% target. The IDA has promised to tip S$750 million into the network.

OpenNet has estimated it would spend up to S$2 billion over the 25-year life of the project.

Under Singapore’s three-level NBN structure, it will sell its dark fiber to the StarHub-owned wholesale operator Nucleus, which in turn will sell to retail service providers.

SingTel and Canadian-based Axia NetMedia each own 30% of Open Net. Singapore Power and Singapore Press hold a 25% share each.

SingTel and Canadian-based Axia NetMedia each own 30% of Open Net. Singapore Power and Singapore Press hold a 25% share each.

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