PICTURES, VIDEO

SingTel fire: Govt to probe; telco may face fines

Workers seen in the fibre optic chamber at the SingTel’s Bukit Panjang Exchange located at 40 Woodlands Road on Thursday, Oct 10, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Workers seen in the fibre optic chamber at the SingTel’s Bukit Panjang Exchange located at 40 Woodlands Road on Thursday, Oct 10, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Fibre chambers at the Bukit Panjang central office on Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013. -- PHOTO: SINGTEL
Fibre chambers at the Bukit Panjang central office on Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013. -- PHOTO: SINGTEL
The queue outside the Singapore Pools outlet at Toa Payoh Lorong 1 at 7.50pm on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
The queue outside the Singapore Pools outlet at Toa Payoh Lorong 1 at 7.50pm on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
The queue outside the Singapore Pools outlet at Toa Payoh Lorong 1 at 7.50pm on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
The queue outside the Singapore Pools outlet at Toa Payoh Lorong 1 at 7.50pm on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
A fire at the Bukit Panjang Exchange building on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013, led to outages in Singtel and Starhub's mobile, TV and phone coverage across the island. -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO
A fire at the Bukit Panjang Exchange building on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013, led to outages in Singtel and Starhub's mobile, TV and phone coverage across the island. -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO
A fire at the Bukit Panjang Exchange building on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013, led to outages in Singtel and Starhub's mobile, TV and phone coverage across the island. The Government has launched a full investigation into the fire that broke out at a key S
A fire at the Bukit Panjang Exchange building on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013, led to outages in Singtel and Starhub's mobile, TV and phone coverage across the island. The Government has launched a full investigation into the fire that broke out at a key SingTel Internet facility. -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO

The Government has launched a full investigation into the fire that broke out at a key SingTel Internet facility.

The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) said in a statement on Friday that it will investigate the cause of Wednesday's fire, which crippled essential services across the island for more than 24 hours. It added that it "will take appropriate action to prevent it from happening again".

"While the operators and affected parties were able to pull together resources in a concerted effort to restore services, this is nevertheless a serious incident affecting many consumers and businesses," IDA said.

The regulator said operators are must ensure that the design of their networks and services are resilient to service outages, and when outages occur, they should ensure that they restore the services expeditiously. Under IDA's service resiliency code, SingTel maybe subjected to a financial penalty.

Earlier this month, IDA fined telco M1 a record $1.5 million for a service outage after investigations showed that it "had not fulfilled its obligation to provide resilient mobile telephone services". The outage in January this year lasted up to 71 hours, affecting some 250,000 M1 users - the worst mobile network failure Singapore has experienced to date.

IDA said while it has completed a review of the resiliency of mobile networks of the three telcos following the M1 outage, it will "continue its review of Singapore's telecommunications infrastructure, looking closely at the systemic resilience in all critical parts of our infocomm infrastructure". These findings will be captured in the new audit framework, it said.