Netlink Trust fined $150k for delay in delivering orders

In the 12 months to June this year, NLT failed to deliver all home broadband orders within seven business days as required.
In the 12 months to June this year, NLT failed to deliver all home broadband orders within seven business days as required.PHOTO: NETLINK TRUST

Fibre broadband network builder Netlink Trust (NLT) has been fined $150,000 for failing to deliver orders to home and business broadband users on time - its sixth fine in five years.

In the 12 months to June this year, the Singapore-listed company failed to deliver all home broadband orders within seven business days as required. It connected between 92.75 per cent and 96.14 per cent of monthly residential orders in the stipulated time frame.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) also requires NLT to deliver 98 per cent of home broadband orders within three business days.

But NLT delivered between 91.54 per cent and 94.83 per cent.

In a statement yesterday, IMDA said delays were mainly due to consumers switching between service providers, requiring either a second optical fibre or the handing over of the first optical fibre to another service provider.

"The competitive fibre broadband service plans for customers in the market have resulted in an increasing number of households switching between service providers," said IMDA.

Today, more than 1.2 million households have subscribed to fibre broadband, which means more than 90 per cent of them have a broadband plan.

The fine against NLT comprises $100,000 for causing delays to home broadband deliveries and $50,000 for delaying service deliveries to businesses.

As for business orders, it must do the connection within eight weeks of customers signing up. But it failed to meet the mark from January last year to March this year, during which it delivered between 88.74 per cent and 99.8 per cent of all orders. It also has to connect 80 per cent of new business sign-ups within four weeks of the order date, but it failed to do it for five months, from January to May last year.

IMDA said that in deciding the latest fine, it considered the company's continuing efforts to provide services on time as well as the nature of end-user demands.

It also considered delays caused by building owners in giving NLT access into the buildings.

IMDA said it expects NLT to ensure there is sufficient spare fibre in residential buildings to cater to all residential orders.

NLT accepted the fines and said the penalty is comparatively lower than those in previous years.

Said its chief executive officer Tong Yew Heng: "We take our regulatory obligation on service delivery seriously. We have adopted measures to improve our QoS (quality of service) performance."

In October last year, IMDA fined the company $500,000 for similar failures. The six fines in the past five years totalled $2.14 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2017, with the headline 'Netlink Trust fined $150k for delay in delivering orders'. Print Edition | Subscribe