Singapore still struggling to sign-up high-speed broadband subscribers


Take-up of national broadband network services will pick up from 2013, according to opco chief David Storrie.

At CommunicAsia 2011, this time last year, executives from Singapore’s telecoms regulator the IDA and incumbent operator SingTel admitted that take-up of high-speed broadband services delivered via the country’s fibre-based national broadband network (NBN) was relatively weak. 12 months on and it appears not much has changed.
The NBN is on track to reach 95% of homes passed by the end of this month, or within a few weeks of that deadline, said David Storrie, CEO of Nucleus Connect, the operating company for the multi-layer NBN project, speaking at the annual Asian trade show earlier this week. However, subscriptions currently number only around 130,000, he said. 
According to Singapore government statistics, there were 1.15 million households in the country as of 2011.
“People are still not aware of what it’s going to bring them,” he said. “The education piece has been weak… We haven’t sold it very well.”
Storrie conceded that there have been technical problems, such as would-be customers being unable to get services because their name and address was missing from a database. In addition, residents can refuse access to their building to connect up the network, and with a lot of rented accommodation in Singapore, it can be difficult to obtain landlords’ permission to connect inside buildings.
Furthermore, many people are still locked into multi-year contracts with their existing home broadband provider, Storrie pointed out. However, he is confident that service adoption will increase next year.
“It’s going to improve… Watch this space on take-up,” he said.
As the Singapore NBN operating company, Nucleus Connect leases fibre from network company OpenNet, adds the active equipment and sells the connection on to the various retail service providers, including the country’s major telcos and a number of new players.