Netlink Trust stops fibre installation after contractor's workers test positive for Covid-19

None of the workers had contact with Netlink Trust staff in the last 14 days.
None of the workers had contact with Netlink Trust staff in the last 14 days.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - New sign-ups and those who switch broadband operators will not be able to get their fibre broadband connection set up until next Monday at the earliest after fibre network operator Netlink Trust (NLT) suspended all installation works that require visits to homes and offices.

The suspension, which will last until Sunday (April 19), comes after four workers from one of its contractors tested positive for Covid-19 between Tuesday and Thursday. Two of the workers visited 34 homes for installation work between April 1 and April 14, while the other two were not involved in works requiring home or office visits.

None of the workers had contact with NLT staff in the last 14 days.

NLT's contractors have to activate fibre links before Internet service providers such as Singtel, StarHub, M1, ViewQwest or MyRepublic - which resell NLT's services - can get their customers connected to the Internet.

NLT said on Friday that it is working with its contractor to assist the Ministry of Health (MOH) in contact tracing efforts to identify all parties the workers may have come into contact with.

"We are also reaching out to affected parties with current service orders to inform them of the suspension," NLT said, although it did not specify how many customers are affected.

"This temporary suspension will be lifted after a review of the existing precautionary measures and appropriate enhancements are implemented. We apologise for any inconvenience caused (and) seek your understanding in this difficult time."

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) confirmed in a statement that it has directed NLT to suspend all service orders for homes and officers until Sunday.

"IMDA's priority is to ensure the safety of the public and workers as well as the continued availability of essential services," an IMDA spokesman said.


"NLT will reschedule this week's appointments to the next available date, starting from next week."

NLT is the sole network builder here and runs the government-backed ultra-high speed Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NGNBN).

The suspension of installation orders by NLT follows intermittent outage issues faced by StarHub's Internet service on Wednesday, causing disruption to subscribers working and studying at home during Singapore's circuit breaker period, and leading to thousands of complaints surfacing on social media.

StarHub said on Thursday that it would offer customers affected by the disruptions a 20 per cent rebate on their monthly home broadband fees.