Updated: 05/07/2014 02:33

SingTel fined $6m for outage caused by Bukit Panjang exchange fire last October

The scene after the Bukit Panjang fire. Photo: SingTel

The scene after the Bukit Panjang fire. Photo: SingTel

The Infocomm Development Authority, IDA, has fined SingTel $6 million for the massive service disruption caused by a fire at its Bukit Panjang exchange last October. 

It is the largest ever fine meted out to a telco. 

IDA says SingTel had failed to meet its obligations under the Service Resiliency Code. 

But SingTel wasn't the only party who was taken to task. 

CityNet and OpenNet were also fined. 

IDA says while SingTel had certain business continuity management policies and processes in place, it did not have specific contingency plans to address serious service outage such as the fire. 

It also noted weaknesses in the telco's network and practices. 

These included outdated work practices of using lead sealants in the cable chamber which required hot works to be carried out. 

IDA says it has taken into account mitigating factors in deciding on the fine. 

These included the telco providing affected users with alternative services during the incident and its offers of compensation to users after the incident. 

IDA also found that CityNet and OpenNet had not fulfiled their respective obligations. 

It found procedural lapses in CityNet such as the lack of robust approving processes for hot works in the exchange and the failure to ensure the safety of the work area. 

It has been fined $300,000. 

While not a direct contributor to the cause of the incident, OpenNet, as the operator of the Nationwide Broadband Network has been found to have contributed to the delay in service restoration to affected users. 

It has been fined $200,000. 

The fire at the exchange last October affected close to 270,000 telecom and broadcast subscribers. 

In its statement, the IDA said that it has already embarked on a review of the resilience of all parts of Singapore's infocomm infrastructure, and the review is expected to be completed in the second half of this year. 

-By Fann Sim

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