SINGAPORE: National fibre network operator NetLink Trust has been fined S$500,000 for failing to meet both non-residential and residential Quality of Service (QoS) targets, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said on Thursday (Oct 27).
In a statement, the authority noted that from January 2015 to June 2016, NetLink Trust fulfilled 87.15 per cent to 93.19 per cent of the residential service orders within three business days or by the Request for Activation (RFA) date. This falls short of the minimum standard of 98 per cent.
NetLink Trust also fulfilled 89.95 per cent to 94.08 per cent of the service orders within seven business days or by RFA plus four business days, for which the standard is 100 per cent of all orders.
For failing to meet residential QoS standards, IMDA has imposed a financial penalty of S$200,000 on NetLink Trust.
From January to December 2015, NetLink Trust fulfilled 29.28 per cent to 82.68 per cent of non-residential service orders within four calendar weeks of the date of the service order, or by the RFA date. The minimum standard set by IMDA is 80 per cent, which the network operator failed to meet for all assessed months except December 2015.
NetLink Trust fulfilled 45.06 per cent to 90.72 per cent of the non-residential service orders within eight calendar weeks of the date of the service order, or within four calendar weeks of the RFA date, also falling short of the standard of 100 per cent of all orders. It was thus slapped with another penalty of S$300,000 by IMDA.
IMDA said that while determining the penalties, it took into consideration NetLink Trust’s previous QoS failures, and the operational improvements made by NetLink Trust to raise its performance across the board.
The authority also noted that a number of delayed residential service orders were churn orders or second fibre orders that necessitated the use of a second optical fibre, or handing over of fibre between service providers.
"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 ensure it fully meets all QoS standards," it said, adding that it will continue to monitor NetLink Trust’s performance closely.
NetLink Trust was also fined S$450,000 last October for not meeting its QoS targets.
RISING FIBRE DEMAND A CHALLENGE: NETLINK TRUST
Acknowledging IMDA's decision on the fines, NetLink Trust said in a statement that its challenges include rising demand for fibre broadband as well as more users switching between service providers to take advantage of lower prices.
"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," it said.
The operator added that it will continue to work with service providers to minimise the need to deploy a second fibre temporarily when a user changes service provider.
For non-residential users, NetLink Trust said installation and maintenance work "remains challenging" as building managements impose their own processes and rules in allowing the operator access to carry out work. In buildings with anticipated demand, NetLink Trust said it has pre-installed fibres in preparation.
The firm maintained that it had improved its QoS performance in the residential segment, and made significant improvements in the second half of 2015 in the non-residential segment. It also pointed out that it had achieved the target of 80 per cent of non-residential connection service orders within four calendar weeks in December 2015.
According to NetLink Trust, it fulfilled more than 320,000 fibre connection requests in 2015 and has wired up more than 1.2 million homes in Singapore to date.
CEO Tong Yew Heng also said the company was investing about S$150 million in installing more fibre connections islandwide and upgrading the operational and business information technology systems.
“Addressing the expectations of the IMDA and our partners continues to be a priority for us. We are fully committed to improving our operations and QoS performance," he said.