11 December 2007 - Opening Remarks By Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister For Information, Communications And The Arts At The Media Briefing For The Launch Of Next Generation National Broadband Network Request-For-Proposal, Ministry Of Information, Communications And The Arts, Esplanade Room.

Opening Remarks By Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister For Information, Communications And The Arts At The Media Briefing For The Launch Of Next Generation National Broadband Network Request-For-Proposal on 11 December 2007, Ministry Of Information, Communications And The Arts, Esplanade Room.

1. Good evening, members of the media. Thank you for coming to this briefing. I am pleased to announce the launch of the Request-for-Proposal, or RFP, for Singapore’s Next Generation National Broadband Network. I would like to set out the context for this project before I ask IDA's Assistant Chief Executive, Mr Khoong Hock Yun to present the details.

2. Singapore’s existing infocomm infrastructure has served us well. It has helped Singapore to grow economically and enabled the Government and Singaporeans to enjoy the benefits of digital and on-line technologies.

3. In an era of rapid technological changes, we must look forward and anticipate the changing needs of the economy and our citizens.

4. For Singapore to remain competitive in the globalised economy, we need careful and timely investments in our key economic infrastructures including infocomm infrastructure. We are already seeing increasing delivery of services and more transactions over broadband networks. The demand for bandwidth will grow as more infocomm services become available. 

5.  Singaporeans appreciate the benefits of broadband connectivity, both wired and wireless. Today more than 75 per cent of homes are enjoying broadband service. This is a jump of more than 10 percentage points since January this year (62 per cent). We also see an increasing number of subscribers signing up for higher speed broadband plans. 

6. To ensure that Singapore’s infocomm infrastructure is ready for future needs, we must act now. Last year, the Government announced the plan to build a Next Generation National Broadband Network, or Next Gen NBN. This network will offer pervasive and competitively priced ultra high-speed broadband connectivity to business users at the workplace as well as to Singaporeans at home, schools and learning institutions and other premises. 

7. IDA had undertaken extensive consultations with the industry and studied the next generation network deployments in other parts of the world.

8. IDA’s findings indicate that a next generation broadband network will contribute to Singapore’s continued economic success. It is also critical for the Next Gen NBN to provide effective open access to downstream operators. This will create a more vibrant and competitive broadband market. As a policy, we have therefore decided to adopt separation between the different levels of the Next Gen NBN to achieve effective open access. The RFP to construct the network will therefore provide for structural separation of the passive network operator from the downstream operators. If necessary, the Government is also prepared to consider legislation to achieve such effective open access for downstream operators in the next generation broadband market.

9. The RFP will be open to all interested parties to submit their bids to build the passive infrastructure of the Next Gen NBN. This infrastructure will be designed, built and operated by a single entity known as the Network Company or NetCo. I would like to reiterate that the Next Gen NBN tender will require that the appointed NetCo be structurally separated from downstream operators and vice versa to be consistent with the policy objective of effective open access. The successful bidder in the RFP would have met the requirements of effective open access.

10. With the rollout of the Next Gen NBN, business users and individual consumers can look forward to a range of new and exciting services. Business users will benefit from ready access to a robust and pervasive network that can support data-intensive transactions. These may include close to real-life high-definition video conferencing, high speed online transactions and graphics-based data visualisation. For example, the healthcare sector will be able to process and share high volume and complex medical data, including tele-radiology and MRI, to provide more timely and better medical care to patients. Small and medium enterprises can also benefit from high speed broadband to tap on grid computing applications and data storage facilities at competitive rates. Students will be able to make use of visually immersive and interactive learning applications for a richer and deeper educational experience.

11. Indeed, the Next Gen NBN will enable business and individual users to fully leverage new and innovative online services, transforming the way we work, live, play and learn.
12. I will now ask IDA's Assistant Chief Executive Mr Khoong Hock Yun to take us through the details of the Next Gen NBN RFP, after which, we will take your questions.

13. Thank you.

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Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023