Singapore Shortlists FTTH Firms
see also iDA web site
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has taken another important step toward deciding which companies will build and operate the island state's next-generation network by drawing up shortlists of bidders.
Singapore's plan is to hook up all its homes and businesses with fiber by 2015, with some homes getting the 1 Gbit/s access services from 2010, in a network rollout that could cost as much as US$2 billion.
To achieve its aims, the IDA has created a three-layered model: a "NetCo," to design, build, and operate the passive infrastructure; a "OpCo," to deploy network infrastructure (routers, switches) and act as a wholesaler of broadband capacity; and multiple retail service providers that will all use the same underlying physical infrastructure.
The IDA's latest move has been to draw up a shortlist of 11 firms that have pre-qualified for the OpCo request for proposal (RFP) tender process, including Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom AG, NTT West Corp., Nokia Siemens Networks, and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel). See the table below for the full list.
The OpCo RFP process is set to start some time during the second quarter of this year, with the IDA expecting to announce the winner in the first quarter of 2009.
A shortlist of 10 NetCo consortium leaders was announced earlier this year, and the RFP process has already begun, with submissions due in by May 5. See the table below for the NetCo shortlist, which includes many of the same names as the NetCo list.
Singapore's government is providing a grant of 750 million Singaporean dollars (US$543 million) to the winning NetCo to help with the construction.
One of the shortlisted firms, City Telecom (HK) Ltd. , just announced it has teamed up with Singapore operators MobileOne Ltd. (M1) and StarHub Pte. Ltd. for its bid.
The winner of the NetCo bid is due to be announced in the third quarter of this year.
In his recent report on FTTH deployments and plans around the world, Heavy Reading chief analyst Graham Finnie noted that, considering its "strong commitment to technology deployment over many years" and its "dense, urbanized housing [that is] well suited to a fiber rollout," Singapore has been "surprisingly slow to encourage development of FTTH."
Finnie also noted that the government's proposed grant is "proportionately, the largest subsidy offered by any government for an FTTH network."
Despite Singapore's slow start, the Asia/Pacific region is already leading the way in FTTH developments, boasting a healthy majority of the world's fiber connections, though Europe is set to pick up the pace in the next five years.