SINGAPORE: National fibre network operator NetLink Trust has been fined S$150,000 for failing to meet quality of service targets, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said on Wednesday (Dec 27).
This is the sixth time the firm has been fined in five years.
Singapore-listed NetLink Trust is required to meet 98 per cent of residential service orders within three business days or by a requested activation date. In a statement, the authority noted that from July 2016 to June 2017, Netlink Trust fulfilled about 91.5 to 94.8 per cent of its orders on time.
This was an improvement over the same period last year, but it still fell short of the minimum standard.
Netlink Trust is also required to fulfil 100 per cent of all orders within seven business days or within four days of the activation date. During the same period, NetLink Trust met about 92.8 per cent to 96.1 per cent of the service orders.
For failing to meet residential service standards, IMDA imposed a fine of S$100,000 on NetLink Trust.
In its statement, IMDA said that competitive fibre broadband service plans for customers in the market have resulted in an increasing number of households switching between service providers to take advantage of plans that offer more value.
"While NetLink Trust has provisioned first fibre orders relating to a household’s initial broadband service in a timely manner, it has taken a longer time to provision some orders relating to such switches," the authority said.
NON-RESIDENTIAL SERVICE ORDERS
NetLink Trust was required to fulfill 80 per cent of non-residential service orders within four weeks, but failed to do so during several months last year.
The network operator met the standard for 10 months from June 2016 to March 2017, but failed to do so from January to May last year.
Its performance was close to but still below the minimum standard, IMDA said.
NetLink Trust also fulfilled about 88.7 per cent to 99.8 per cent of the non-residential service orders within eight weeks, or within four weeks of the requested activation date, falling short of the standard of 100 per cent of all orders.
It did, however, achieve more than 90 per cent for its performance from March 2016 onwards on a monthly basis, reaching 99.8 per cent in July 2016.
For not meeting the non-residential service standards, it was slapped with another penalty of S$50,000 by IMDA.
IMDA said that in deciding the amount of the fine, the authority considered the efforts by NetLink Trust to provision services on time, the improvements shown and the nature of end-user demands.
IMDA also took into consideration delays outside the operator's control despite its best efforts, such as the time taken by building owners to allow site access into buildings, the authority said.
"IMDA expects NetLink Trust to ensure that there is sufficient spare fibre in residential buildings to cater to all residential orders, and continue to improve its processes and systems to ensure it meets all quality of service standards. IMDA will continue to monitor NetLink Trust’s performance closely," it added in the statement.
NetLink Trust was also fined S$500,000 last October for not meeting its quality of service targets.
NETLINK HAS ADOPTED MEASURES TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE: CEO
In a news release on Wednesday, the NetLink Group acknowledged the penalties imposed by IMDA, while pointing out that these penalties were comparatively lower than those imposed before.
This was in line with the improved quality of service performance achieved by the NetLink Group, the company said.
NetLink Trust CEO Tong Yew Heng said: “We take our regulatory obligation on service delivery seriously. We have adopted measures to improve our quality of service performance."
Mr Tong said the company will continue to work closely with key stakeholders to meet regulatory service standards.
"We thank our end users for their patience and understanding as we strive to continue improving our service standards," he added.
The penalties do not have any material impact on the net tangible asset per unit and distribution per unit of NetLink Trust for this financial year, the company said in the statement.