Singapore consumers can expect more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to launch 100Mbps consumer broadband services next year at about US$50 a month or less.
The impetus to make available more choices in high-end broadband services is Singapore’s upcoming broadband network, portions of which will be up by the middle of next year.
StarHub, awarded the tender to install the hardware for this network, will sell ISPs access to it at a wholesale rate of US$14 per 100Mbps for residential lines.
This price is much lower than what ISPs offering consumer broadband services now pay StarHub or SingTel to piggyback on their networks: StarHub charges US$14.37 for a 2Mbps line and US$23.80 for a 100Mbps line; SingTel’s charges range from $10 for a 512kbps line to US$22.67 for a 10Mbps line. (via Straits Times)
The Singapore NBN model will be watched carefully by other countries planning a similar exercise but the Singapore conditions are unique and may not be transferrable to other markets. As an island state with a land area of 693 sq km (268 sq mi) and a very stable government capable of making far-reaching planning decisions, it has a distinct advantage in rolling out a world-leading broadband network. For example, the NBN is the wired network of the Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure (Next Gen NII), a project under the Intelligent National 2015 (iN2015) masterplan to transform Singapore into an intelligent nation and global city, powered by Infocomm. How many countries can boast that sort of forward thinking?
Consortiums headed by the two main FMC operators, SingTel (OpenNet) and StarHub (Nucleus Connect) were awarded the contracts to act as the network build and operating companies respectively. A number of ISPs, including SingTel’s own, M1, Pacnet and LGA, have said they will look into how they can tap the new network and it is likely that there will be a flurry of new players keen to grab a share of the market or provide access as part of a more complete managed service offering to enterprise customers.
However, hat may not be as easy as it sounds. Aside from the wholesale access charges, prospective ISPs also have to factor other overheads such as billing, customer service, overseas bandwidth charges and their profits into the final price they charge their customers. Sounds a lot like an MVNO model and we know how that’s played out, don’t we?