Regulation needed to 'free' NBN operators

Singapore needs open access platform for its next-generation broadband network, so operators can offer innovative services to customers.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Regulation is needed to ensure an open access platform is provided for the country's next-generation broadband network (NBN), in order to "free" operators to offer innovative services to customers.

Speaking at the imbX conference and exhibition Wednesday, Khoong Hock Yun, assistant chief executive of infrastructure development group, Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), said regulation of Singapore's planned next-gen NBN is necessary to ensure "neutral access and an open ecosystem for service providers".

"Competition is not an end unto itself." Operators who have access to "clear prices" upon the network will have the freedom to innovate, and "the private sector is in the best position to decide what services should be offered" upon the NBN, he said.

Open access and structural separation between the NBN's network company (NetCo) and operating company (OpCo) will make entry less daunting for downstream service providers, said Khoong.

Tan Kah-Rhu, CEO of OpenNet, the appointed NetCo, touched on the operating and business support service (OSS/BSS) platform that it will offer to the OpCo and RSPs (retail service providers).

OSS/BSS is a telecoms industry term referring to areas such as fulfillment, service assurance, customer care and billing.

She said the portal will offer e-services on a "simple and transparent" platform.

David Storrie, Nucleus Connect CEO, said: "The proposed OSS/BSS platform is designed to provide open access to enable all layers to interact for ease of delivery of service."

Storrie said, in line with the regulations stated by an Interconnection Offering (ICO) expected to be released August by the IDA, the OpCo will offer standard pricing to RSPs, and will sell different tiers of connection bandwidth.

Nucleus Connect is proposing 99.5 percent availability to meet quality of service (QoS) targets in the ICO, and let downstream RSPs sell different tiers of service levels to customers.

The IDA's Khoong said the OpCo will sell different grades of service levels defined from A to D, with A being "real time", B being "near-real time", C being "mission critical" and D as "best effort".

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