Singtel to shut down ageing ADSL network in April 2018

In a statement on Monday (Sept 11), Singtel said it will be shutting down its copper-based ADSL network in April next year. It will be sending out letters to affected customers and offer them fibre broadband packages.
In a statement on Monday (Sept 11), Singtel said it will be shutting down its copper-based ADSL network in April next year. It will be sending out letters to affected customers and offer them fibre broadband packages.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - About 47,000 customers still on Singtel's ageing asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) broadband network have until March next year to migrate to faster broadband technologies.

In a statement on Monday (Sept 11), Singtel said it will be shutting down its copper-based ADSL network, introduced more than 15 years ago, in April next year. It will be sending out letters to affected customers and offer themfibre broadband packages.

"Fibre-based networks today are capable of offering far greater speeds and supporting a much wider range of services than the prevailing copper-based networks," said Mr Wong Soon Nam, Singtel Consumer Singapore's vice-president for consumer products.

"Fibre also provides customers with a robust connectivity that supports unified business communication applications and smart home services," he said.

"Singtel will work closely with relevant stakeholders to ensure our customers will enjoy a smooth and fuss-free transition to the fibre network. We will also reach out to customers through various channels to make sure they are informed of the impending change and make available a range of affordable plans to cater to their varied communication needs."

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) acknowledged that it is no longer commercially viable for Singtel to maintain the ageing technology on a nationwide basis.

"With the proliferation of fibre connectivity in Singapore, the demand for services provided over legacy copper infrastructure such as ADSL broadband services has declined significantly over the years," an IMDA spokesman said.

ADSL broadband subscriptions account for less than 3 per cent of home broadband subscriptions, IMDA noted.

In approving its requests to shut down the ADSL network - which provides broadband access as well as pay-TV and digital landline services- IMDA has required Singtel to provide ample notice and comparable alternative packages to minimise any disruption to affected customers.

IMDA said that more than 95 per cent of affected consumers will be offered comparable or cheaper packages. Subscribers tied to contracts may exit their contracts without early termination charges if they do not wish to sign up for the alternative fibre-based services.

Singtel will also cease copper deployment to commercial buildings that obtain Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) status from April, and will serve customers in these buildings using fibre-based networks. Commercial buildings that obtain TOP status before April 2018 will not be affected. Singtel has ceased copper deployment to new residential buildings since 2013.