SINGAPORE - Fibre broadband network builder Netlink Trust (NLT) has been fined $150,000 - its sixth fine in five years - for failing to deliver orders to home and business broadband users on time.
In the 12 months to June this year, Singapore-listed NLT 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 within the stipulated timeframe.
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 on Wednesday (Dec 27), IMDA said that delays were mainly due to consumers switching between service providers in response to intense competition.
"The competitive fibre broadband service plans for customers in the market have resulted in an increasing number of households switching between service providers to take advantage of plans that offer more value," said IMDA. The switching between operators requires either a second optical fibre or the handing over of the first optical fibre between service providers, resulting in the delays.
Today, more than 1.2 million households are already subscribed to fibre broadband. This represents more than 90 per cent of households with a broadband plan.
For causing delays to home broadband deliveries, NLT was fined $100,000. The remaining $50,000 was for delaying service deliveries to businesses.
Specifically, NLT needs to connect all business orders within eight weeks of customers signing up. But it failed to meet the mark from January last year to March this year, delivering between 88.74 per cent and 99.8 per cent of all orders.
It needed to also connect 80 per cent of new business sign-ups within four weeks of the order date, but it failed to meet the requirement for five months from January to May last year.
IMDA, in deciding the fine this time, said it has considered continuing efforts by NLT to provide services on time and the nature of end-user demands. IMDA also took into consideration delays outside NLT's control such as the time taken by building owners to allow site access into buildings.
IMDA said it expects NLT to ensure that there is sufficient spare fibre in residential buildings to cater to all residential orders and will continue to monitor NLT's performance closely.
NLT accepted the fines and said in a statement that the fine imposed by the IMDA this time 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."
Thanking customers for their patience, Mr Tong added that NLT will continue to improve its performance to meet regulatory service standards.
In October last year, IMDA fined the firm $500,000 for similar failures. The six fines in the past five years add up to a total of $2.14 million.