SingTel rivals oppose NG-NBN ownership plan

SingTel rivals oppose NG-NBN ownership planA number of Singaporean operators and ISPs have banded together to oppose a consolidation proposal that would see ownership of the NG-NBN national fiber network fall into the hands of SingTel.

The industry members have called on regulator IDA to reject the consolidation request by NG-NBN netco OpenNet.
Operators M1 and StarHub, ISPs MyRepublic, SuperInternet, ViewQwest, NG-NBN opco Nucleus Connect and the Asia-Pacific Carriers’ Coalition have submitted a joint response to OpenNet’s request.
A public statement by the stakeholders cites “grave concerns the industry has over the competition issues raised by the proposed consolidation, including the potential of discriminatory treatment and a lack of independence by CityNet/OpenNet.”
OpenNet last month filed for approval for a consolidation plan involving its four shareholders selling their stakes in the company to CityNet.
CityNet is trustee manager for NetTrust, a 100%-owned but independently operated SingTel subsidiary. SingTel is one of the four existing OpenNet shareholders.
But SingTel’s rivals have opposed the consolidation on the grounds that it would mean the operator would have a 100% stake in the NG-NBN, the only other nationwide fixed telecom network in Singapore besides its own network.
“Moreover, the business trust used in this proposed consolidation has statutory and contractual obligations to act in SingTel’s interests,” the companies’ statement reads.
The deal would also extend SingTel’s divestment deadline for NetTrust from 2014 to 2018, expanding SingTel’s control over the fixed market and entrenching its market dominance, it adds.
“The proposed consolidation also fails to address how it would deal with the unresolved and escalating problems the industry faces or how this would benefit end-users. This is especially troubling given OpenNet’s history of rollout delays, missed appointments, and inadequate quality of service.”
If IDA does decide to approve the consolidation, the stakeholders have requested stronger safeguards to ensure that OpenNet must offer services on a non-discriminatory basis.
Proposed measures include appointing government and industry executives to the OpenNet and CityNet boards and enforcing real penalties for OpenNet performance issues such as missing rollout obligations.

#fiber network# ISPs# NG-NBN national# Singaporean operators# SingTel