Singaporean government wants its’ own

‘Next Gen NII’ bidders have another week to submit their bids for Singapore’s ‘public sector only’ telecoms network project.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, a governmental entity entrusted to choose the next generation national infocomm infrastructure (Next Gen NII), will soon be selecting and certifying a telecoms company to design and build a backend framework for the government’s private telecommunications network, according to a report from public media outlet, Asiaone.

The city-state government’s move to build and own a separate telecoms network through which it plans to drive its ambitious smart nation agenda-a masterplan positioning Singapore as a global telecommunications and transcable hub connecting regional submarine cable systems to international cable systems- is unexpected given the authorities’ recent declarations in favor of for more private sector participation in the infrastructure landscape.

“As Singapore becomes a smart nation, we see new areas and opportunities for the Government to do more to assist, grow and build up a common infrastructure to support the deployment of smart nation applications. It is critical for the Government to own key components of the IP core to ensure that such a platform is secure and trusted to safeguard potential sensitive information used across multiple government agencies,” an IDA spokesman was reported to have said.

The new infrastructure will include equipment linking a network of sensors around the state that will increase round-the-clock surveillance in two central districts, Little India and the Civic District.

Little India made the frontlines in December 2013 after a riot broke out putting spotlights on social tensions in the vicinity, whereas Civic District is known as a cultural and historical center at the city’s heart.

The telecoms project is said to include flood-risk-monitoring via sensors in drains as well as safety monitoring of the elderly via sensors installed in their homes.

The public sector initiative has raised some concern among market participants over potential conflict of interest as the government takes its first stakes in a market which it regulates.

Other concerns expressed by industry representatives over the cost of such a project.

The telecommunication operators present on the Singapore market are SingTel, StarHub, MobileOne (M1), PacNet, Temasek and MyRepublic.

They have until 10 February to submit bids.