OpenNet proposes new ways to ease fibre service delays, IDA starts consultation

SINGAPORE - OpenNet has proposed new ways to ease delays in fibre broadband installations, one of which is for Internet service providers (ISPs) to make advance appointments to activate fibre links.

OpenNet will then provide manpower resources based on such demand forecasts received from ISPs including SingTel, StarHub, M1, ViewQwest and SuperInternet. The network builder wants ISPs to commit to use 90 per cent of their daily demand forcasts, "failing which a commitment fee will apply". Any increase or reduction in the next forcast shall not exceed five per cent of the previous one.

These suggestions were detailed in a document the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) put up on its website Friday for a month-long public consultation.

The last review of OpenNet's standard service agreement with ISPs was in July 2012, when OpenNet was required to raise the number of customers it connects to the network to 3,550 weekly, up from 2,050.

Since then, OpenNet's daily installed quota also has to be adjusted quarterly based on demand seen in the previous quarter. OpenNet is also not allowed to charge ISPs extra for additional installations during IT shows. But these changes did little to improve delays, especially to business customers.

Persistent delays in delivering fibre orders to businesses resulted in OpenNet being fined $240,000 by the Infocomm Development Authority last month. In the second and third quarters of last year, OpenNet connected only about half of all business orders - short of the required 80 per cent - within four weeks. It also fulfilled less than 75 per cent - instead of all - within eight weeks.

OpenNet attributed delays to the refusal of building managements to grant access to in-house fibre links.

Since last month, moves have being made to speed up the installation of fibre broadband for businesses. The Straits Times reported on Monday that OpenNet has called for a tender for contractors to help install fibre links in a bid to clear a backlog of unfulfilled business orders. Having ISPs as contractors would allow OpenNet to use their existing relationships with building managers and owners for faster access approval, OpenNet had said.