According to a Dow Jones Newswires, a company spokeswoman from Axia NetMedia (a Canadian telecommunications carrier based in Alberta) is considering a role in Australia's multi billion dollar National Broadband Network.

Axia has been hovering around both state and federal governments for several years, making presentations on the success of their broadband network in Alberta. One such presentation was to the Western Australian government which later spawned the "State Broadband Network" EOI. This seems to have gone the same way as the Queensland government's AU$550 million Brisbane FTTH network - NOWHERE!

Axia is best known as the company who built the Albert Supernet, a high-speed network that connected 429 communities across the Canadian state. The Government contributed to the building of the state-of-the-art IP network on the proviso it connected 4,200 government locations that included health, education, and municipal facilities.

Most interesting is the Alberta SuperNet uses an open access model which means any service provider in the province can use the SuperNet to deliver ultra-high speed services, including Internet access, to retail and business customers.

Axia is also the leading player in a consortium named OpenNet, which recently announced that it was bidding on the Singapore government's NBN project.

OpenNet proposed a comprehensive plan for a truly open access Fibre to the Home Network to cover the entire Singapore population. It intends to accomplish its "pristine open access" through:
  • No individual parties having control over OpenNet;

  • Three of the four OpenNet owners are not integrated telecommunications players hence there are no conflicting interests;

  • Network is specifically designed to enable choice by OpenNet customers, large and small;

  • Interests are aligned as OpenNet’s commercial success depends on its customers’ success.
In the proposal, OpenNet (which is made up of Axia NetMedia 30%, Singapore Telecommunications Limited 30%, Singapore Press Holdings Limited 25% and SP Telecommunications Pte Ltd 15%) will leverage SingTel’s existing extensive high-quality ducting network and turn it into an ultra-fast broadband network. Reliability is also guaranteed as the subterranean ducting system is least vulnerable to damage. OpenNet can deliver a resilient tamper-proof fibre-to-the-home network by 2010, at least two and a half years ahead of schedule.

With SingTel expressing some interest in bidding for Australia's NBN outside of the Optus lead TERRiA (formally G9) consortium, perhaps they are going to hitch up with their stable mate from OpenNet.

Senator Conroy should have taken a long hard look at the Singapore approach before running head long into our own NBN. In Singapore, they have created a three level operating model: NetCo - the network owner, OpCo - the network operator, and the retail providers who purchase wholesale services on the network. This ensures complete structural separation and ensures everyone is playing on a level field.


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