IDA fines OpenNet $750,000 for failing to comply with service obligations and standards

OpenNet, which built and operates Singapore's fibre broadband network, has been fined a total of $750,000 by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) for failing to meet its obligation to provide services to all customers and for falling
OpenNet, which built and operates Singapore's fibre broadband network, has been fined a total of $750,000 by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) for failing to meet its obligation to provide services to all customers and for falling short of service standards. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM 

OpenNet, which built and operates Singapore's fibre broadband network, has been fined a total of $750,000 by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) for failing to meet its obligation to provide services to all customers and for falling short of service standards.

The telco regulator said on Wednesday it levied a fine of $550,000 on OpenNet for breaching its Universal Service Obligation from January to June this year, and another fine of $200,000 for breaching its Quality of Service standards.

The Universal Service Obligation requires telecom licensees such as OpenNet to "provide specific telecom services to any end user who requests for them", IDA said. OpenNet's obligation came into effect on January 1 this year, but the company was unable to fulfil this requirement in the first six months of the year.

About 120,000 homes and 760 non-residential buildings were potentially affected by OpenNet's failure to comply with this obligation, "as they could not have ordered high-speed fibre broadband if they had wanted to", IDA said.

It added that this failure was a "serious breach, which adversely impacted the industry that relies on OpenNet's Nationwide Broadband Network to deliver its services". But in deciding on the quantum of the fine, IDA took into account OpenNet's "progressive rollout to make services available to the affected buildings".

Since July 1, the company has been accepting orders for fibre services to all residential and business users.

IDA also fined OpenNet for failing to provide its services in a timely manner in the first half of this year, which was a breach of service quality standards.

The main reason for this was that the company suffered "a shortage of service activation capacity" to meet the strong demand for connection services in homes, the regulator said.

It noted that in April this year, OpenNet met 91.3 per cent of its service orders within seven business days. But this fell to 75 per cent in May and 33 per cent in June.

IDA decided on the fine after considering "the very large margin" by which OpenNet had failed to meet service quality standards and the need for the regulator to take "strong deterrent action" against the company.

But IDA also factored in the stronger-than-expected demand spike for OpenNet's services in May and June as a result of promotional activities.