StarHub Internet service fully restored at 8.20pm; telco to conduct detailed analysis of outage

StarHub started having problems around 11am, before complaints spiked at 11.30am and, again, at 3.55pm. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - StarHub's Internet services were fully restored at 8.20pm on Wednesday (April 15), after facing intermittent outage issues throughout the day.

It had caused disruption to subscribers working and studying at home during a period when Internet connections are crucial due to the coronavirus outbreak.

StarHub chief technology officer Chong Siew Loong apologised for the inconvenience on the telco's Facebook page and said: "We take this incident seriously and will conduct a detailed root cause analysis so that we can prevent future recurrence."

He added that traffic on the telco's network is "well below" available capacity, and that "ample redundancy" has been built into the network to cater for high service levels.

A spokesman from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) told The Straits Times it takes "a serious view of any service disruption to public telecommunications services, especially during the circuit breaker period, where many of us are working and studying from home".

The spokesman said: "IMDA has commenced investigations into the two service disruptions to StarHub's Internet services today, and will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action should there be any lapses on StarHub's part."

According to the Down Detector website, which logs Internet outages, StarHub started having problems at around 11am, before complaints spiked at 11.30am and, again, at 3.55pm.

StarHub, in confirming the problem on its Facebook page, said fibre broadband services for some customers living in the north and north-east of Singapore were "temporarily affected" for about 20 minutes in the morning due to "a fault in a network equipment".

Its update on Facebook at 3.45pm said that it was aware that some broadband customers were still facing connectivity problems. The telco later said this was due to a separate network issue with one of its domain name servers that handles Internet traffic routing.

Internet users from Yishun and Ang Mo Kio to Seletar and Kallang took to social media to complain about the outages.

A Facebook user called Danny Tong wrote on StarHub's page: "How to work from home when your 'equipment' and infrastructure failed big time? Still not working after rebooting all my devices equipment several times now. Bishan area."

Private investor Stephen Chen, 42, said he realised something was wrong when he noticed his wife using her phone's mobile data to do a Zoom call for work at around 5pm.

"I saw that my computer's Internet connection was also down and I couldn't do any trading. I rebooted the router a few times and it still didn't work," said Mr Chen, who lives in Mountbatten.

Marketing consultant Serene Woo, 41, realised her Internet connection was not working properly at around 3.30pm when her video-conference call was abruptly cut off. Certain services such as Whatsapp messaging and e-mail were still functioning, so she went on with her other work and rescheduled her video call for another day.

Having a robust Internet connection is important now that the majority of the population is working and studying at home to break the transmission of Covid-19.

Mr Alper Turken, CommScope's senior vice-president, service provider, Asia-Pacific, said speedy and reliable broadband is crucial, as the lines between home and office become increasingly blurred.

Describing the Internet as being "as essential as water and power", he said: "Such connectivity will be the difference between success and failure, particularly for smaller businesses, who need to turn to digital means to reach their local and global audiences while home-bound."

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