End monopoly on fibre-optic cabling works

I recently contacted NetLink Trust to find out more about relocating the fibre-optic termination point (TP) in the HDB flat that I recently bought on the resale market.

I was advised that the cost of moving the TP is $220 if the new location is within 15m of my front door, and $33 for every 5m block beyond the first 15m.

The quoted prices were all before goods and services tax.

In addition, there was a waiting time of approximately a month, based on NetLink Trust's schedule.

NetLink Trust advised me that it was the only authorised party to do any works related to the TP.

While I accept that NetLink Trust is allowed to set its prices in line with its commercial aims, it has, in practical terms, a monopoly on the provision of TP-related works.

As the new owner of my flat, I am compelled to accept NetLink Trust's prices, terms and waiting period or be left stuck with the TP in a position that the previous owner opted for.

I suggest that the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, along with any other related agency, look into putting an end to NetLink Trust's monopoly on cabling works related to the TP.

Diversifying the pool of contractors allowed to work on fibre-optic cabling can serve to reduce the costs involved and end-users' waiting time.

This can only give a positive boost to Singapore's aim to extend the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network to all and sundry.

Chai Koh Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2015, with the headline 'End monopoly on fibre-optic cabling works'. Print Edition | Subscribe