SINGAPORE — Telcos StarHub and M1 have been fined $210,000 and $400,000 respectively by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) over broadband service disruptions that occurred earlier this year.
The fines were imposed for contraventions of the Code of Practice for Telecommunication Service Resilience 2016, said the IMDA in a news release on Sunday (6 September).
“In determining the final penalty quantum for each incident, IMDA took into consideration relevant factors such as the duration, impact, and customer service measures adopted by the operators to mitigate impact,” said the authority.
During a service disruption on 15 April, up to 250,000 StarHub broadband subscribers were affected for nearly five hours.
The incident took place after a StarHub employee “made a configuration error during a planned network migration exercise”, said the IMDA, adding that the disruption could have been avoided if the company had better supervised its staff during the exercise.
The authority added that it took into consideration the urgency of StarHub’s efforts to restore broadband services as soon as possible, and its “prompt communication and compensation to affected subscribers”.
In the M1 case, the disruptions that took place on 12 and 13 May affected up to 18,000 and 20,000 M1 broadband subscribers, respectively.
The first disruption was due to a corrupted profile database in M1’s Broadband Network Gateway, and lasted 23 hours. The second disruption, which lasted six hours, was caused by a software fault in the company’s network equipment that in turn affected the routing of Internet traffic for M1 subscribers.
IMDA’s investigations found that the first incident resulted due to M1’s staff and vendor not following prescribed procedures. With regard to the second incident, IMDA found that the software fault was the “first of its kind for such equipment” and that M1 “could not have reasonably foreseen and prevented the incident”.
These findings led IMDA to find M1 in contravention of the Code over the first incident but not the second. Factors such as the length of the disruption, the significant inconvenience caused to subscribers and M1’s “proactive compensation” to affected subscribers were taken into consideration by IMDA when determining the financial penalty imposed.
“We take a serious view of any service disruption to public telecommunications services, particularly during the circuit breaker period when most people were working and studying from home, and will take firm and decisive action to safeguard our consumers’ interests,” said IMDA deputy chief executive Aileen Chia.
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