SingTel fire could spark interesting SLA developments

Putting out the fire at SingTel's Bukit Panjang Exchange last week was a good development, but what comes after will be even more interesting since the impact wasn't confined to the telco's own customer base.
Written by Bryan Tan, Contributor

Last Wednesday, a fire broke at a SingTel's Bukit Panjang Exchange. Services to businesses were reported to be restored on Friday but as of Monday, some consumers were still reporting having issues.

A number of interesting developments have since surfaced which industry watchers will be on the lookout for.

First, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said it launched a "full investigation" into the incident and there is a possibility the telco may face fines. Given that a reported 60,000 SingTel subscribers as well as customers from M1 and StarHub, which were using services carried on the OpenNet fiber broadband network, were affected in addition to some business customers, SingTel could be staring at some stiff figures. In comparison, M1 recently was fined S$1.5 million by IDA for a three-day outage affecting 250,000 of its customers.

Second, this particular outage affected some businesses with banking and lottery facilities which were reportedly out for a several hours. Of particular interest will be the SLA (service level agreement) language commonly used in such contracts to address such outages.

Third, there are widespread effects of the outage because the operations of other telcos were also affected, thus, exposing these telcos to claims for compensation from their customers. This indicates a change from previous outages which were confined to a telco's own customer base.

Indirectly, there are suggestions the fire also added fuel to the fire (no pun intended) for the other telcos which have opposed the sale of by OpenNet consortium members to a business trust owned--but not operated--by SingTel, which is currently being assessed by IDA.

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