RealTime IT News

Singapore: Gateway to Asian Broadband Market

Singapore appears to have become the "place to be" for broadband companies, particularly those seeking to reach the attractive and expansive Asian market.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) recently announced new strategic alliances with numerous international broadband content and technology companies to develop and provide interactive broadband multimedia content and services via Singapore ONE -- a nationwide broadband network servicing an overwhelming 99 percent of Singapore's households, businesses and schools with more than 200 content and service providers on the network.

International companies find Singapore a desirable place to launch into Asia due to the country's extensive and advanced infrastructure, its cosmopolitan and tech-savvy population and its substantial connectivity to Asia and the rest of the world. A growing list of leading U.S.-based companies, such as Microsoft and RealNetworks, has committed to launching broadband initiatives in Singapore.

Recognizing Singapore's leading position in broadband development, Microsoft has picked Singapore as one of the first international markets for localized versions of its MediaGuide, incorporating broadband content from Singapore ONE partners.

Leveraging on the extensive abailability of the Singapore ONE broadband network, RealNetworks has inked an agreement with IDA to deploy RealSystem 8, the leading streaming media system, in the Singapore ONE network, to deliver a broad range of high-quality broadband streaming media content to Singapore households.

"We are excited by the worldwide growth in the broadband market. The entry of American companies to the Singapore broadband scene signifies the securing of Singapore's position as the ideal platform to gain access to emerging Asia broadband markets," said Khoong Hock Yun, IDA's Assistant Chief Executive. "We look forward to working with these U.S. companies to further expand the Asian broadband market."

IDA has enacted several key initiatives within the broadband sector promoting and stimulating growth of interactive broadband multimedia in Singapore. In addition, IDA has appropriated a package of approximately US$90 million to stimulate both the demand for and supply of interactive broadband multimedia content and services.

Key broadband areas include entertainment content development, high-quality streaming videos, interactive television and audio services. U.S.-based On2 chose Singapore as its first Asian launch to deliver and customize its full-screen, full-motion, television-quality video and interactive content On2Movies broadband Web channel. Innovatv.com, which entered the market in May 2000, is another example of a U.S. company that is coming to Singapore; the company is offering `interactive video magazines' (iMags) on Singapore ONE, wrapping rich information and Web-links around high-quality video.

Through these high-visibility partnerships, IDA aims to achieve several key objectives -- to position Singapore as the launch pad to access the Asian market, attract international companies to deploy broadband content and services in Singapore, and create opportunities for local and international online players to share and exchange expertise and experience. These international partners have contributed content, technology or users to Singapore ONE.

Such international alliances increase the outreach of all partners' content in Asia. For example, signings with Asian companies -- such as Taiwan's GigaMedia with access to 3.8 million households, Korea's Thrunet with access to 6.2 million homes and China-focused AsiaCableTV.com with access to 10 million Chinese households and 300,000 businesses -- offer Singapore ONE partners outreach to the huge Asia broadband marke