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Huawei, Alcatel win Singapore NBN work

Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent have been selected to manage and provide the "active infrastructure" for the country's planned next-generation national broadband network (NBN).

Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent have been selected to manage and provide the "active infrastructure" for the country's planned next-generation national broadband network (NBN).

The two vendors signed an agreement Tuesday with the NBN's appointed operating company (OpCo), Nucleus Connect.

The StarHub subsidiary won the bid to operate the active infrastructure of the NBN, providing wholesale broadband connectivity to downstream operators such as retail service providers (RSPs), which would then package and resell broadband services to consumers.

This "active" layer sits atop the basic fibre infrastructure, currently being laid out by a separate network company (NetCo) OpenNet, a joint venture between four companies that includes Optus parent, SingTel, Axia NetMedia (Axia), Singapore Press Holdings and SP Telecommunications.

Earlier this month, Alcatel-Lucent also clinched the operating and business (OSS/BSS) support provider role with OpenNet.

Speaking at a briefing in Singapore, Nucleus Connect CEO David Storrie said Alcatel-Lucent's OpenNet deal had no bearing on its win with the OpCo. He said the company's "open access" design of the network was a factor, adding that Alcatel-Lucent won by a "considerable" margin.

Storrie said Alcatel-Lucent initially submitted bids on both Nucleus Connect tenders calling for OSS/BSS and networking infrastructure vendors, but was "found to be stronger in OSS/BSS". Alcatel-Lucent later linked up with Huawei to come forward as a joint bid, he added.

And while Nucleus Connect is the "official" NBN OpCo, it is unlikely to be the only OpCo, he noted. "I do expect at least another one," he said.

"At least a dozen RSPs are interested" in signing on to be another OpCo for the Singapore NBN, Storrie said, pointing to the number of RSPs that had signed NDAs (nondisclosure agreements) to view the Interconnection Offer (ICO) on wholesale prices, as listed by the country's ICT regulator, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).

Daniel Tang, CTO of Huawei's network product line, told ZDNet.com.au's sister site ZDNet Asia that the Huawei-Alcatel-Lucent contract with Nucleus Connect spans seven years, during which the Chinese networking equipment vendor will provide and operate the necessary systems, as well as transfer skills to Nucleus Connect's staff. Nucleus Connect will also set up two "super central offices" to house the telecoms exchange equipment, Tang said in a phone interview.

Storrie said the sizes of the central office facilities will be determined by the number of service providers that require co-location.