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Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure (Next Gen NII)

Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure, or Next Gen NII, is Singapore's new digital super-highway for super connectivity as part of the iN2015 Masterplan.

1. Overview

Next Gen NII has two components: A wired broadband network that will deliver ultra-high broadband speeds to all homes, offices and schools, while a wireless broadband network will offer pervasive connectivity around Singapore.

This plan for developing IT infrastructure had been built upon the old National Infocomm Infrastructure, that had initially started as a key initiative of IT2000. It had grown to see major differences to Singapore's IT infrastructure; Singapore ONE the island-wide broadband initiative in 1996 that jumpstarted the broadband industry and formed the platform over which all local Internet traffic is exchanged today.

However, as technology progresses, in order to retain its competitiveness, the Government feels the need for the prescence of a good infocomm infrastructure. The IDA believes in supporting the needs of the users and to allow them to thrive in this new global environment, and the enhancement of Singapore's global competitiveness.

2. Initiatives/Programmes

Under the Next Gen NII, would comprise both wired (Next Generation National Broadband Network) and wireless (Wireless Broadband Network) components:

- Next Generation National Broadband Network: An open access carrier neutral wired network that will offer high-speed access of over 1Gbps. It is expected to be completed by 2012.

- National Trust framework

- Wireless Broadband Network (WBN): A pervasive wireless broadband network that will be deployed in key catchment areas around Singapore to fufill mobility needs of individuals. Wireless@SG network was launched by IDA in December 2006 as part of this Wireless Broadband Market Development Call-For-Collaboration.

4.1 Wireless@SG

Wireless@ SG is a project under the Next Gen NII: Wireless Broadband Network (WBN), that offers users seamless wireless broadband access at various indoor and outdoor public areas. It is initiated by IDA as part of the Next Gen NII initiative, and will be run and developed in the next two years by 3 local wireless operators who will deploy a Wi-Fi network in Singapore - iCell, QMax and SingTel. Today, there are more than 7,400 Wireless@SG hotspots located around Singapore (as at September 2008).

According to Infocomm123, this access will be provided free for the first 2 years. However, beyond that, payment will be required unless the three operators consider otherwise in response to strong public interest for broadband access.


3. Concerns

With regards to Next Gen NII, there had been some concerns put forward by industry veteran and observers who feels that the success of Next Gen NII depends on its ability to respond quickly to innovation while not stifling competition. They feel that there needs to be more changes to be made in this new plan, with regards to the previous NII, that would be little aid if the Singapore government do wishes to leverage on ICT to boost its competitiveness. As Rajesh Screenivasan, a lawyer with Rajah & Tann's iTec Practice Group says, " We are already faced with a small market. It will be even smaller if only a limited few have access to decent bandwidth."

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