Looks like the authorities are pretty serious about keeping communication channels open.
The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) has issued a fine of $6million to SingTel for the service outage which occurred on October 9 last year due to a fire at the Bukit Panjang Exchange.
This is the largest fine meted out to a telco.
The fire disrupted services for close to 270,000 subscribers.
CityNet and OpenNet were also fined smaller amounts of $300,000 and $200,000 for the outages experienced on their networks.
Justifying the fine, IDA explained that they had not provided a sufficiently resilient telecommunications system. They also said that the restoration works to get customers connected again was not fast enough.
IDA said that SingTel had failed to follow SOPs and the work safety practices in order to prevent the fire. They also were penalised for not having specific contingency plans to address serious service failures.
IDA said these disruptions could have been prevented had the telco enforced its standard operating procedures and work safety practices.
Mr Leong Keng Thai, IDA’s deputy chief executive, commented on the severe penalty. He said this is a strong signal (pardon the pun) to telcos that they “must take network resilience very seriously”, and “invest in necessary infrastructure, processes and training to prevent and minimise service outages”.