Not too long ago, all of us were stuck in our homes every day due to the Circuit Breaker period, with nothing much to keep us company except our Wi-fi and the internet.
It was a very sad time indeed, and having slow internet just made the situation a lot worse.
Many households across Singapore faced issues with their internet connectivity on two separate occasions during Circuit Breaker, which affected those who needed to access the internet for school or for work.
Therefore, the two telcos responsible for causing these internet service disruptions have been fined by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
IMDA Fines Starhub & Singtel For Internet Disruptions
The IMDA has imposed a financial penalty of $210,000 on StarHub, and $400,000 on M1, for contravening the Code of Practice for Telecommunication Service Resilience 2016.
To determine the fine for each incident, IMDA took into consideration a few relevant factors such as the duration, impact, and customer service measures adopted by the operators to mitigate impact.
Starhub Was Fined $210,000
Starhub’s disruption occurred on 15 April 2020, and up to 250,000 StarHub broadband subscribers were affected for close to five hours.
The incident occurred when a StarHub staff made a configuration error during a planned network migration exercise, and IMDA found out that the disruption could have been prevented if Starhub had done a better job of supervising its staff.
IMDA also took note of Starhub’s prompt communication and compensation to affected subscribers and their efforts to restore services as soon as possible before imposing the financial penalty of $210,000.
M1 Was Fined $400,000
The first disruption occurred from 7am on 12 May to 6am on 13 May, and it was caused by a corrupted profile database in M1’s Broadband Network Gateway. This was because M1’s staff and vendor had not followed prescribed procedures, and it affected around 18,000 M1 broadband subscribers.
The second incident affected up to 20,000 subscribers for approximately 6 hours, and it was caused by a software fault in M1’s network equipment.
IMDA also added that M1 could not have possibly foreseen the second incident, as it was the “first of its kind” for such equipment.
Thus, M1 had breached regulations for the first incident and not the second one.
When deciding on the financial penalty of $400,000, IMDA took into consideration that M1’s disruption lasted almost a whole day, which caused significant inconvenience to affected subscribers.
Such Disruptions Are Taken Very Seriously
IMDA takes a very serious view on any service disruption to public telecommunications services, especially during the Circuit Breaker period. This is because many people were working from home and it was crucial that they had access to the internet.
“Operators must communicate any service difficulties with their customers and rectify incidents expeditiously, and should provide good service recovery measures to affected customers,” said IMDA Deputy Chief Executive, Ms Aileen Chia.
“We will continue to work with operators to strengthen network resilience and improve customer communications,” she added.
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