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Singapore Raises the Broadband Stakes

TelecomTV reports that a new National Broadband Network combining a carrier-neutral fiber backbone and a collaborative wireless grid is intended to lift Singapore�s standing as a leading regional ICT player.

Already ranked the world�s leading ICT-ready territory by the World Economic Forum, Singapore is now planning a nationwide network capable of delivering new services and applications at up to 1Gbps. The move is intended to improve the ability of its citizens and businesses to exploit emerging technologies and services such as IPTV, e-health and collaborative computing.

Singapore Communications and IT Minister Lee Boon Yang said that the so-called Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure would serve as the country�s �new digital super-highway for super-connectivity enabling quantum transformation in the way we will work, live and play.�

Officials are planning a fast get-go for the project and have set a two month feedback period for the initial concept. By mid-year they are expected to have released a request for proposals for the fibre component of the network while in early 2007, a contract will be awarded for the fibre network to a private sector partner.

The appointed operator is expected to complete at least 50 percent rollout within three years from the award, and complete the project within five years. Initial homes are expected to be connected via the new fibre infrastructure during 2008. While the main purpose of the new fiber network is to support mobile worker, education, healthcare and GRID computing requirements, officials said the wireless broadband component would provide reach into underserved and �key catchment� areas.

There are already six licensed wireless broadband providers in Singapore and connectivity via the multi-carrier network is expected to be available by late 2006.

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