Singapore fibre network builder fined again for service breach

Singtel-owned NetLink Trust has been fined a total of S$500,000 (US$359,829) for failing to meet the required quality of service standards set out by the local industry regulator.

Singapore's fibre network builder NetLink Trust has been fined again for failing to meet the required quality of service (QoS) standards laid out by the industry regulator.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said in a statement Thursday that NetLink had failed to meet the required 98 percent standard for residential service delivery. The Singtel-owned vendor had fulfilled between 87.15 percent and 93.19 percent of residential service orders within three business days, during the assessment period of January 2015 to June 2016.

It also fulfilled 89.95 percent to 94.08 percent of such orders within seven business days, falling short of IMDA's QoS standard of 100 percent.

Due to overlaps in this aspect, NetLink would have to fork out a fine of S$200,000 (US$143,931).

When it came to meeting non-residential QoS standards, the vendor also failed to fulfil the minimum requirement during the assessment year of 2015. NetLink clocked between 29.28 percent and 82.68 percent of non-residential service orders within four calendar weeks of the date of service orders. The required standard was 80 percent.

And while the minimum QoS standard for fulfilment of such orders within eight calendar weeks was 100 percent, NetLink delivered 45.06 percent to 90.72 percent. December was the only month that year it performed above the minimum standard.

For its service breach in the non-residential segment, the vendor was fined S$300,000 (US$215,897).

In determining the financial penalties, IMDA said it considered NetLink's previous QoS failures and the operational improvements the vendor made to improve its performance. The industry regulator added that a number of delayed residential service orders were churn orders or second fibre orders, which required the use of a second optical fibre, or handing over of fibre between service providers.

IMDA said it would continue to monitor NetLink's performance.

In its statement Thursday, the vendor said it "acknowledged" IMDA's decision but pointed to challenges it faced securing "timely access" to non-residential buildings it needed to conduct installation and maintenance work.

"Building managements impose their own processes and house rules in allowing NetLink Trust access and permission to carry out its work," it said, adding that it had wired up more than 1.2 million homes across Singapore, to date. Last year, it fulfilled more than 320,000 fibre connection requests.

"In the residential segment, NetLink Trust had to address rising fibre broadband demand and a growing number of end-users switching between service providers due to stronger price competition," it said. "More fibres had to be laid to cope with this demand, which took up additional time and network resources, potentially delaying connection services to other end-users."

NetLink Trust CEO Tong Yew Heng added that the company was committing S$150 million (USD$107.95 million) to install more fibre in Singapore as well as upgrade its operational and business systems.

The vendor also was fined S$450,000 (US$323,846) for similar QoS lapses last year, as well as another S$750,000 (US$539,743) in 2013.

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