SingTel eyes bid for new broadband network

SingTel has partnered Singapore Power, Singapore Press Holdings and Axia NetMedia to jointly bid for the city-state's planned ultra high-speed broadband network, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report said SingTel and Canada's AXIA NetMedia each have a 30% stake in the consortium, Singapore Press Holdings has 25% and Singapore Power's telecom unit has 15%, SingTel said, without giving the value of the bid.

The network, called the Next-Generation National Broadband Network, will allow users to surf the web at speeds of at least 1Gbps, 10 times faster than those available now, when it is fully completed by 2015, the report said.

Last week, rival operators StarHub and MobileOne formed a consortium with Hong Kong's Citi Telecom to bid in the government's tender for the construction of the city-state's future cyber highway, the Reuters report said.

The Next Generation National Broadband Network is part of state-owned Infocomm Development Authority's Intelligent Nation 2015 or 'iN2015' blueprint to give the Asian financial services hub seamless connectivity, SingTel said.

The report also quoted Allen Lew, SingTel's CEO as saying that 'the plan is to leverage SingTel's existing extensive high-quality network of ducts and the work we have already done in the rollout of an ultra-fast broadband network.'

Lew said the Axia-led consortium, called OpenNet, would deliver the network two-and-a-half years ahead of schedule by June 2010.

OpenNet will contract SingTel, with a market value of over 29 billion euros (US$45 billion), to finance the network rollout through a long-term lease arrangement, the report said.

Other financing options include shareholder equity contributions and government funding, OpenNet said, but declined to provide details, the report further said.