Singapore revises Code of Practice for Info-communication Facilities in Buildings

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore has announced changes to the Code of Practice for Info-communication Facilities in Buildings (COPIF). 

An important change to the COPIF is the pre-wiring of homes with optical fiber. Following the deployment of the Next Gen NBN to over 95% of households in June 2012, homeowners can subscribe to fiber broadband services when they move into their new homes. 

To facilitate the ease of access for new homes, COPIF 2013 will require an optical fiber termination point to be pre-installed in each new home.  In addition, each living room and bedroom within these new homes will be provided with Category 6 cabling capable of carrying data speeds of more than 1 Gbps.

Another key change calls for the provision of rent-free Mobile Deployment Space (MDS), where developers and owners of buildings and developments will be required to provide space for the deployment of infrastructure for enhanced mobile coverage in both existing and new developments. The MDS requirements will vary, depending on the size of the developments, or the mobile coverage area of the developments. It will also be over and above other space requirements currently specified in COPIF for telecommunication operators. Mobile operators will in turn be expected to invest significantly in deploying more equipment to enhance coverage and provide a better quality of service for the buildings and its surroundings.

 Some flexibility may be accorded to developers and owners of buildings and developments in meeting the MDS requirements (e.g. the MDS need not be a single contiguous space, and the MDS may be sited in varied locations such as roof-tops or car parks).  Moreover, developers and owners of buildings and developments will only need to provide the MDS upon request from the mobile operators, as the provision of the space may not be necessary in cases where there is already adequate mobile coverage within the developments.

A key clarification made in COPIF 2013 is the use of space and facilities to serve beyond the boundaries of a development, a scenario provided for in the Telecommunications Act today.

The space and facilities provided by the developer or owner of a building/development under COPIF 2013 are primarily intended for telecommunication licensees to deploy installation, plant and systems to serve the telecommunication needs of the development itself.  However, there may be circumstances where it will be reasonable for a telecommunication licensee that is providing telecommunication services to a development, to use that developmentā€™s space and facilities to extend telecommunication services to other nearby developments. 

There will be mutual benefits and network efficiency on the whole with such arrangements, resulting in more competitive and faster deployment of telecommunication services to end users. COPIF 2013 thus sets out the process and broad principles IDA will apply in allowing the use of such space and facilities to extend telecommunication services to other nearby developments.  The key considerations will be whether the request for use is reasonable and whether the developer or owner concerned is made worse off.