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CEO of S'pore's NBN network company quits

OpenNet CEO Tan Kah-Rhu, who was overseeing the deployment of high-speed fiber-optic broadband cable across Singapore, has resigned before the project is completed to "pursue other interests".
Written by Tyler Thia, Contributor

SINGAPORE--OpenNet, the network company (NetCo) tasked to deploy the passive fiber infrastructure for Singapore's next-generation national broadband network (NBN), announced yesterday that its CEO has resigned.

According to the company's media release on Tuesday, Tan Kah-Rhu's tenure as CEO will cease on Nov. 1, 2010 as she "pursue[s] other interests".

The 58-year-old is a telecommunications veteran who had previously managed fiber deployment during her time at Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel). Tapping on her experience, OpenNet appointed Tan in early 2009 to spearhead the rollout of the nationwide passive optical fiber infrastructure for Singapore's NBN.

The cables are expected to be installed in about 60 percent of schools, households and non-residential buildings by end-2010, and the NetCo is on track to hit its 95 percent coverage target by 2012.

Tan will be succeeded by Khoo Chin Hean, who will be joining OpenNet as CEO-designate on Oct. 1. His most recent appointment was as the executive director of Energy Studies Institute of National University of Singapore.

A former civil servant, Khoo was the chief executive of Public Utilities Board (PUB) from 2000 to 2008. During this time, he was responsible for the restructuring of the electricity and gas sectors for competition. After he stepped down from PUB, Khoo continued to serve in governing boards of various organizations in the government and private sector.

News of Tan's departure comes on the heels of the lighting up of the NBN's active infrastructure.

Nucleus Connect, the NBN's operating company (OpCo), announced late in August that it has started commercial operations and, at the same time, lined up five retail service providers (RSPs) to provide ultra-high-speed broadband access to both enterprise customers and consumers. The OpCo is responsible for the designing and building of the active infrastructure, which enables the service provider to act as a wholesaler of the network's bandwidth to RSPs.

RSPs that have signed up with the OpCo are SingTel, StarHub, M1, SuperInternet and LGA Telecom. Among them, the first four operators have already announced their NBN price plans, while LGA said it will reveal its packages next month.

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