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Policy Statement by Mr Leong Keng Thai, Director-General (Telecoms and Post), Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2010 in Mexico

5 October 2010 - Policy Statement By Mr Leong Keng Thai, Director-General (Telecoms and Post), Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2010 in Mexico on 5 October 2010.

Policy Statement By Mr Leong Keng Thai, Director-General (Telecoms and Post), Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2010 in Mexico on 5 October 2010

Thank you, Mr Chairman.
Honourable Ministers,
Secretary-General of the ITU,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Broadband as a Basic Service and Basis for Future Innovation

1. First, let me add my congratulations to you, Mr Chairman, on your election to chair this important conference.

2. From the simple copper line, we have been witnessing wave after wave of innovation in the way we communicate with one another. From the telephone to Twitter and other instant messaging options today, innovations have been unfolding. But while copper networks served as the foundation for past and current innovations, the next wave of innovations will be delivered through high speed broadband networks. Broadband will define this generation and provide the basis for innovations that could transform economies and societies. Broadband has the potential to be a country's basic infrastructure and a critical foundation for growth. Through the innovative services that emerge from such infrastructures, everyone, including the disabled and the less-privileged, can be engaged and be part of the information society.

Singapore's Experience

3. In Singapore, we have been working over the last 10 years, to bring broadband to all homes, schools and institutions. Currently, we are deploying a new Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network, capable of supporting speeds of up to 1Gbps and beyond. But innovation is not about the speeds on offer, but the value creation coming from content, services and applications from the broadband networks. Therefore, while building the physical infrastructure is important, we must ensure that the policies we put in place will enable broadband to be the well-spring for innovative content, services, applications and other future possibilities.

4. For Singapore, the new national broadband network has brought a comprehensive rethink of how market structures and national policy objectives and outcomes should interact.

5. Following close consultations with the industry, we have developed a policy that ensures true effective open access to the next generation broadband network, to maximise the possibilities of service innovation. Through competitive bidding and partial government funding of the infrastructure, the selected operators will deploy the fibre infrastructure within committed timeframes and pricing. The policy also requires various forms of business separation designed to achieve a competitive market for broadband service providers who will have non-discriminatory access to a broad range of wholesale dark fibre and connectivity services at regulated and competitive prices.

6. This next generation broadband initiative will enable Singapore to have accelerated nationwide fibre-to-the-home, or in fact, fibre-to-everywhere. By 2012, every home and office will have fibre-into-the-premises and from 2013, fibre connectivity will become a Universal Service Obligation in Singapore, where every home and office in Singapore can be assured of getting ultra high speed broadband of up to 1 Gbps and beyond.

In Conclusion

7. The ITU has an essential role in developing and promoting global broadband policies, standards and deployment strategies.

8. While we each may build a broadband network for our own country, we must ensure regional and global connectivity as well. Otherwise, the broadband infrastructure we build within a country may not be able to fully realise its potential reach and richness if we cannot connect with other communities beyond our borders. Singapore welcomes the efforts of ITU and UNESCO in setting up the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. The Commission's goal of "broadband inclusion for all" is indeed commendable and Singapore is prepared to fully support the Commission's efforts. Nearer home, Singapore is working closely with its ASEAN partners in formulating an ICT Masterplan in which regional broadband development will be a key outcome. Such regional and global efforts would help to pave the way for broadband to be truly a global infrastructure for innovation in services.

9. In closing, I would like to express our thanks and deep appreciation to the Government and people of Mexico for their warm hospitality and efficient organisation of this Plenipotentiary Conference1 in the beautiful city of Guadalajara.

10. Thank you.

Notes to Editor