[ny times] This island city-state, thanks to its small size and a big public investment, could soon be the first country blanketed with a fiber optic infrastructure so fast that it would enable the contents of a DVD to be downloaded in only a few seconds.
The new network is expected to give a strong boost to the growth of services like online video and Internet telephony. Pyramid Research, which analyzes the telecommunications business, expects the revenue of Singapore telecommunication operators to rise to $5.1 billion by 2014 from $3.8 billion in 2009.
The new network, stimulated by an investment of 1 billion Singapore dollars, or about $700 million, from the government, will help the country leap ahead in an international race to roll out faster broadband speeds, a competition in which several Asian countries are in leading positions.
While policy makers in many places are still debating their high-speed broadband strategies, considering, for example, whether development should be led by the public or private sector, broadband users in some parts of Asia already have access to the next generation of high-speed networks.
Japan and Hong Kong have been leading the way, with private companies already offering speeds as high as one gigabit per second, or 1,000 megabits per second — many times as fast as the 35 megabits per second required for streaming high-definition video. But these networks do not cover every home.
South Korea, one of the world’s most wired places, has also announced plans to complete a new broadband network offering one gigabit per second in all major cities by 2013.
For the development of its network, Singapore is relying on a mixture of public subsidies and private-sector participation and separating three main functions: the building of the infrastructure, the operation of the network and the provision of retail services.
OpenNet, the infrastructure builder is owned by a consortium formed by Axia of Canada and three Singaporean companies — SingTel, Singapore Press Holdings and SP Telecommunications — using existing parts of SingTel’s network. As part of the agreement, SingTel has agreed to transfer certain infrastructure assets to a separate entity, owned by SingTel, by 2011. It has agreed to reduce its stake in that entity to less than 25 percent by April 2014.
The infrastructure operator, which received a grant of 750 million Singapore dollars from the government, is required to have the new network operating in Singapore by the end of 2012. So far, it has laid fiber optic connections to about 30 percent of all the buildings; it is aiming for 60 percent coverage by the end of this year.
Singapore Gets Wired for Speed