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Keynote Speech By Ms Yong Ying-I, Chairman, IDA Singapore, at the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network Executive Conference

20 September 2010 - Keynote Speech By Ms Yong Ying-I, Chairman, IDA Singapore, at the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network Executive Conference

Keynote Speech By Ms Yong Ying-I, Chairman, IDA Singapore, at the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network Executive Conference, on 20 September 2010 at Singapore Expo

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen

1. I am pleased to welcome you to this Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network Executive Conference.   

New Era in Broadband

2. Over the past few weeks, we have seen much excitement in the broadband market.  I have been avidly reading the newspaper advertisements on new offerings. Consumers are excited by new services various Retail Service Providers are launching over the Next Gen NBN. The strong public interest is heartening. This reflects the importance that broadband plays in the lives of Singaporeans today.

3. We have come some way since the Government first announced the Next Gen NBN project in March 2006.  Our analysis and industry consultation indicated that it was critical for the Next Gen NBN to provide non-discriminatory, effective open access to downstream operators in order for Singapore to fully benefit from the Next Gen NBN investment. Therefore, structural and operational separations are key features of the industry structure we have created.

4. With the commencement of commercial operations by the Next Gen NBN NetCo, OpenNet, at end April 2010, and the OpCo, Nucleus Connect, at end August 2010, I am glad that retail service providers indeed have non-discriminatory access to a broad range of wholesale dark fibre and connectivity services at regulated and competitive prices. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate both OpenNet and Nucleus Connect on their successful commercial launches.

5. I am also happy to share that OpenNet's fibre deployment has increased beyond 50 per cent. Therefore, Next Gen NBN remains on track to achieve the targeted 60 per cent coverage by end 2010 and nationwide coverage of 95 per cent by mid 2012.

6. IDA believes that end-users will benefit from the layered industry structure brought about by the Next Gen NBN as competition shifts from one of infrastructure ownership, to service level competition, where retail and wholesale players compete to deliver services to meet market requirements.

7. We are already seeing this greater vibrancy and competition at the services layer.  Over the past few weeks ago, we've seen 100 megabit per second fibre Internet plans offered at about $50, down from $70 to $100 for 100Mbps offerings that we used to see before.  Some RSPs are differentiating themselves by packaging their new ultra-high speed broadband services with value added services created in-house or in partnership with other companies.

8. Media reports have opined that the competition is making consumers spoilt for choice. At today's event, we have the CEOs of SingTel and StarHub to share with us how their companies are planning to innovate in this new era to better meet the needs of their customers.  I look forward to hearing from them about the new opportunities afforded to operators and their partners with the Next Gen NBN.

Next Gen NBN Catalyses New Possibilities

9. The launch of services over the Next Gen NBN marks a significant milestone in IDA's journey under our iN2015 vision to put in place a nationwide ultra-high speed network that will transform the way we learn, work, live and interact. We believe it to be a strategic enabler of Singapore's continued economic success.

10. In the area of learning, future Classroom Management Systems will enable students to learn from home or on the move whilst interacting with their teachers and fellow classmates as if they were in the same room. This is already happening in some of our schools participating in Ministry of Education's FutureSchools@Singapore programme.  This opens up both learning options and increase resiliency.

11. With the Next Gen NBN, businesses can re-engineer their businesses and develop new business models. For example, as consumers can now access high definition content at their finger tips, media companies have new opportunities to capitalise on digital audiences. Today, Singapore Press Holdings will share with us their view of the opportunities they see in the Next Gen NBN.

12.  The Next Gen NBN can transform businesses through cloud services i.e. Software-as-a-Service and Storage-as-a-Service. A recent survey by Savvis, Inc showed that Singaporean firms lead the world in adoption of cloud services . Ultra-high speed broadband will mean more businesses are able to access cloud services at competitive prices.  With Next Gen NBN, there are new opportunities for service providers to offer Storage-as-a-Service solutions.  One such provider is SecureAge Technology, which is presenting later this morning. SecureAge has developed an online storage solution that enables end-users to securely backup and access large amounts of data hosted in a remote data centre in the cloud.

13. With the ultra-high speed connections offered over the Next Gen NBN, it will be increasingly viable for more employees to work from home.  With network speeds as fast as corporate offices, businesses can tap on new manpower resources by offering part-time home based work arrangements. A tripartite workgroup on ICT enabled home based work was set up by Ministry of Manpower and IDA earlier this year to identify jobs that could be home-based and recommend measures to encourage companies to offer home-based employment.

14. Companies can also make use of high definition video conference solutions to communicate with their overseas offices and business partners. Today, such services require you to go to a facility set up for this purpose.  With Next Gen NBN, you can have high-definition video conference from your office or home. Companies like Norse Solutions Asia Pacific are exploring new market segments for high speed video conferencing, such as in facilitating online company annual general meetings.

Interactive Video Content

15. Next Gen NBN is also expected to open up a new era of retail video-based communication, changing the way consumers access and view media and broadcast content. The Internet is transforming television viewing, from the traditional one-way distribution of video into a two-way interactive entertainment-communication experience.

16. IDA and MDA launched a consultation on the Next Generation Interactive Multimedia Applications and Services Programme or NIMS over a year ago to facilitate industry efforts in the interactive video-based services market to maximise benefits for the industry, community and Government.

17. As part of the NIMS Programme, and in line with the Next Gen NBN, the IDA and MDA intend to put in place an open access platform for the delivery of interactive video-based services. As we have already started to witness with the Next Gen NBN NetCo and OpCo, open access levels the playing field, allowing benefits of the open platform to be made available to all industry players. This fosters innovation and increases business opportunities for industry stakeholders. This in turn ultimately benefits consumers through the availability of an increased variety of applications and services.

18. Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of the Request for Proposal for a NIMS Platform Operator by IDA and MDA to put in place a nationwide, open access, platform for interactive multi-media applications and services.

19. In future, consumers will be able to seamlessly access interactive video services and applications offered by different service providers, through a common featured set-top box connected to the open access video delivery platform. Application and game developers and content providers will be able to develop their services once, and deliver to a wide audience of consumers over the NIMS platform. It will also allow the Government to provide the public with enhanced government services over the TV. This open access platform, like the Next Gen NBN, will drive the growth of interactive services and create growth opportunities for the ICT industry in Singapore.

New Services, New Business Opportunities

20. IDA welcomes the industry's participation in the creation of innovative next generation services on Next Gen NBN. In this respect, I am also pleased to announce the launch of IDA's second Call-For-Proposal or CFP under the NGSIP to support the development of such innovative services.

21. I strongly urge all participants in this Next Gen Executive Conference to think about the possibilities brought about by the Next Gen NBN, and how your organisations can leverage on these new opportunities.


22. I will like to thank the presenters today for taking time to speak to us and the various services providers who have set up demonstrations of their services. I look forward to hearing the presentations and to the discussions about the new opportunities and possibilities that the Next Gen NBN makes possible.

23. Thank you.