OpenNet fined $240,000 for failing to connect business users on time

National fibre broadband network builder OpenNet has been hit with yet another fine for failing to deliver fibre broadband services in a timely manner, this time to business users. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM
National fibre broadband network builder OpenNet has been hit with yet another fine for failing to deliver fibre broadband services in a timely manner, this time to business users. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

National fibre broadband network builder OpenNet has been hit with yet another fine for failing to deliver fibre broadband services in a timely manner, this time to business users.

The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) has fined it $240,000 as less than three-quarters of all business orders in the second and third quarter of last year were fulfilled within eight weeks of customers signing up.

In a statement on Friday, IDA said that OpenNet had failed by a "large margin" and that it needed to "take strong deterrent action" against the network builder.

Under new standards introduced by the industry regulator in Jan 2013, OpenNet must connect 80 per cent of new business sign-ups within four weeks of the order date, and the remaining 20 per cent within eight weeks. If the requirements are not met, OpenNet could face a fine of up to $1 million, or 10 per cent of its annual revenue.

Ms Jacqueline Ong, acting chief executive officer of OpenNet, said the firm has accepted the fine. She said that close coordination with multiple parties, such as building management and owners, for building access is required. This contributed to "a longer process", although the installation of the fibre typically takes less than half a day.

The network builder has since embarked on several improvement measures. They include pre-installing optic fibre cables in selected business buildings - not a standard procedure previously - to speed up the installation process when orders come in.

In November last year, OpenNet was fined $200,000 for failing to connect home users on time in the second quarter of that year.

OpenNet must connect 98 per cent of residential sign-ups within three working days of receiving their orders. The rest would have to be fulfilled within seven working days.

But in April, OpenNet connected fewer than half of home users' orders within three days. This fell to less than 2 per cent in May and about 6 per cent in June. While more than 90 per cent of all home users' orders were met within seven days in April, this dropped to 75 per cent in May, and 33 per cent in the next month.

Then, OpenNet explained that it had received a record number of residential orders - 23,000 and 31,000 - in May and June respectively. The monthly average for the preceding six months was 17,000.