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Axia NetMedia, SingTel, SPH and SP Telecommunications jointly bid to build Singapore’s Next Generation National Broadband Network

Consortium has the winning formula to deliver the Open Access fibre grid

Singapore, 5 May 2008 - Axia NetMedia Corporation (Axia NetMedia, 30%), Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel, 30%), Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH, 25%) and SP Telecommunications Pte Ltd (SPT, 15%) have formd a consortium to jointly bid to build a truly ultra high-speed broadband network for Singapore.

The Axia-led consortium, named OpenNet, submitted a bid earlier today in response to the Request for Proposal for the Next Generation National Broadband Network - Network Company (NetCo) by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). Its proposal exceeds the requirements of the government and its iN2015 blueprint, particularly in areas such as timeline and design.

OpenNet proposes a comprehensive plan for a truly open, better and faster fibre-to-the-home network with guaranteed success, which the entire Singapore population can enjoy. It will deliver pristine open access, which is accomplished through: (i) No individual parties having control over OpenNet (ii) Three of the four OpenNet owners are not integrated telecommunications players hence there are no conflicting interests (iii) Network is specifically designed to enable choice by OpenNet customers, large and small (iv) Interests are aligned as OpenNet´s commercial success depends on its customers´ success.

In the proposal, OpenNet 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 at least two and a half years ahead of schedule of the iN2015 vision. OpenNet is positioned to complete the network rollout by June 2010.

The strengths and experience of each member place the consortium in the best position to bring competition and choice to the market.
Canada-based Axia NetMedia has extensive experience in planning, designing and operating truly open access no-conflict next generation networks in Canada and Europe. Their business model drives healthy competition in the market which gives consumers choice and new offerings at affordable prices.

With SingTel´s ownership of and SPT´s access to existing critical infrastructure, as well as their technical expertise, the consortium can leverage and turn the infrastructure into true ultra-fast broadband networks in a much shorter turnaround time to deliver the next generation NBN and at a fraction of the costs compared to a greenfield operation. There will also be minimal public inconvenience such as roadworks to lay the fibres and cables.

Leading media company SPH believes that the new network will enhance the content and delivery of its many interactive digital media products and at the same time, provide increased connectivity which will boost Singapore´s economic and social growth.

Mr Art Price, Chairman and CEO, Axia NetMedia, said: “Axia successfully operates Open Access next generation networks in Alberta, Canada and France which give us a unique perspective. We have been very impressed with the sophisticated approach taken by the IDA and our partners in this consortium.

“Axia specialises in guaranteed Open Access and no customer conflict next generation networks. We are excited to be working in Singapore to help deliver this ‘no-compromise´ foundation that will put Singapore in the global lead.”

Mr Allen Lew, SingTel´s CEO Singapore, said: “OpenNet´s plan is to leverage SingTel´s existing extensive high-quality network of ducts and the work we have already done in the rollout of an ultra-fast broadband network. With SingTel´s technical expertise and reputation for delivering reliable telecommunications services, we will ensure that OpenNet delivers the next generation network better and faster. We are confident that SingTel´s infrastructure and collaboration with OpenNet have resulted in a solution that is unrivalled in its network rollout speed and quality as well as its ability to drive take-up. We look forward to supporting IDA in its effort to shape the future of the Singapore infocomm market.”

Mr Alan Chan, CEO, SPH, said: "As a media conglomerate, SPH reaches out to consumers on various platforms. Some of our latest interactive digital media offerings like STOMP, Omy, ST701, Rednano and soon, The Straits Times Razor TV, would definitely benefit from this National Broadband Network. Today´s consortium signals the convergence of media, telecommunications, Internet and information technology, which is already taking place in other parts of the world. As part of this consortium, SPH is proud to play a pivotal role to grow the infocomm industry in Singapore.”

Mr Sim Kwong Mian, Director, SPT, said: “SPT is privileged to be part of this resourceful team. With our proven track record in building infrastructure network, we bring to the consortium our experience in rolling out duct and fibre infrastructure to customers in both the business and residential areas. In doing so, we will be contributing towards enhancing the economy and quality of life of Singaporeans, and realising IDA´s vision of positioning Singapore as a global infocomm hub.”

The OpenNet consortium is in full support of embracing the immense potential of infocomm in Singapore over the next decades. The Next Generation National Broadband Network is part of IDA´s Intelligent Nation 2015 or iN2015 blueprint to turn Singapore into a sophisticated city with seamless connectivity. Singaporeans and visitors of Singapore alike will be empowered with a new found freedom to connect, innovate, personalise and create using a pervasive connectivity that will be available to them anywhere on the island, be it at home, at work, or on the move at speeds close to or exceeding 1Gbps.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Co. Regn. No: 198402868E

For media queries, please contact:

Dawn Tinling
Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications
Axia NetMedia Corporation
Tel: +1 403-538-4074
Mobile: +1 403-463-0091
Fax: 403-538-4011
Email: dawn.tinling@axia.com

Chia Boon Chong
Deputy Director, Corporate Communications
Singapore Telecommunications Limited
Tel: +65 6838 2022
Mobile: +65 9678 3716
Fax: +65 6733 1350
Email: boonchong@singtel.com

Chin Soo Fang
Head, Corporate Communications Division
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel: +65 6319 1216
Mobile: +65 9688 6209
Fax: +65 6319 8150
Email: soofang@sph.com.sg

Ida Lim
Head, Corporate Communications
SP PowerGrid Ltd
Tel: +65 6823 8097
Mobile: +65 9106 3782
Fax: +65 6820 2608
Email: idalim@singaporepower.com.sg
 

Axia NetMedia Corporation provides Real Broadband™ IP services and solutions through planning, designing and operating no conflict Open Access Next Generation Networks. Axia trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “AXX”. For more information, visit its website at www.axia.com.

SingTel is Asia´s leading communications group providing a portfolio of services including voice and data services over fixed, wireless and Internet platforms. It has a network of 37 offices in 19 countries and territories throughout Asia Pacific, Europe and the United States. Together with its regional partners, SingTel is Asia´s largest multi-market mobile operator, serving about 172 million mobile customers in eight markets. For more information, please visit www.singtel.com.

Main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is the leading media company in Singapore, delivering news and information through print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. It publishes 14 newspapers in four languages and over 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region. Every day, 2.9 million individuals or 81 percent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH´s news publications. SPH´s internet editions of its major newspapers enjoy over 100 million page views with 7 million unique visitors each month. Other new media initiatives include SPH AsiaOne, ST701 and STOMP. SPH has also ventured into broadcasting, outdoor advertising and properties. For more information, please visit www.sph.com.sg.

SP Telecommunications Pte Ltd, a member of Singapore Power Group, provides telecom infrastructure services. It has a Facilities Based Operator (FBO) licence from IDA. The company leverages on Singapore Power´s extensive expertise and experience in managing and developing infrastructural assets. For more information, please visit www.singaporepower.com.sg