From last Thursday onwards, independent developers in Singapore will now have an opportunity to work with an ‘Open Telco’ — local telecom company and fibre operator, MyRepublic.

MyRepublic’s recent announcement to launch 1Gbps broadband services at S$49.99 per month was closely followed by its launch of MyGigNation, an initiative and living laboratory to support developers in creating, conceptualising, and testing new Gigabit services and applications. This refers to apps primed for faster speeds and better immersion.

The move also sees MyRepublic moving into positioning itself strongly as a ‘Open Telco’, one which will commit to joint development of services. The telco will work with independent developers in providing technical resources, custom routing and network optimisation to support applications, exposing APIs with potential integration with its billing and CRM platforms, and a joint marketing and promotional effort of brand new Gigabit Ethernet services.

According to Jake Brewer and Joe Kochan, Gigabit Ethernet isn’t about the speed. “It’s about the applications, stupid,” they write on Huffington Post.

To prove their point, some examples highlighted in the article include walking into a virtual store and picking up sample products with weight and shape sensors via haptic devices; consulting a doctor through a secure, two-way video where health sensors pick up information about you; entering digital classrooms to interact with teachers and fellow students; and adjusting traffic signals based on traffic congestion, weather and other important factors which affect vehicle flow.

For the record, Singapore’s broadband affordability was ranked “a dismal 55th in the world”, according to a press statement that cited the World Economic Forum’s research. MyRepublic CEO Malcolm Rodrigues said, “Singaporeans have long considered themselves among the world’s best in many areas, and rightly so. But when we looked at the data from around the world on broadband pricing and take-up, we were shocked. There’s much we can improve on as a nation, and that’s the challenge we, at MyRepublic, have taken up.”

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He added that within the next 12 months, MyRepublic is expecting and aiming to move Singapore into becoming one of the top markets around the world in terms of affordability and take-up. He said, “But making 1Gbps broadband available at a price-point most Singaporeans can afford is just the first step. The next step is to do what we do best: drive innovation.”

To jumpstart the initiative, MyRepublic has announced a contest, MyGigIdea, which is an open invitation to entrepreneurs and developers to work with the company in creating more Gigabit-worthy apps. The official statement noted that participants will have to submit a proposal on what they wish to develop on the MyGigNation network.

Subsequently, the top 10 applications selected will be invited to develop and test out their services in the MyRepublic-backed MyGigIdea lab. In July 2014, the best application or service will be selected to receive S$25,000 in marketing support. In addition, the winning project will be co-marketed with MyRepublic’s channels. Further details of the contest will be announced in mid-February when it officially opens.

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Rodrigues also explained that having MyGigNation and the 1Gbps plan will stir the city-state’s economy. He said, “Local application developers will have an advantage over their foreign counterparts whose markets lag in connectivity. Singapore will become a test bed of the future.”