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Financial penalty of S$150,000 imposed on NetLink Trust for failure to meet standards

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has slapped a S$150,000 fine on fibre broadband network builder NetLink Trust for failing to meet standards.

The financial penalty was split into S$100,000 for non-compliance to residential standards, and S$50,000 for non-compliance to non-residential standards.

When it came to residential standards, it was found that during the assessment period from July 2016 to June 2017, NetLink Trust had fulfilled 91.54 to 94.83 per cent of residential service orders within three business days or by the Request for Activation (RFA) date in each month - lower than the standard of 98 per cent required by IMDA.

NLT had also fulfilled 92.75 to 96.14 per cent of monthly residential service orders within seven business days, or an additional four business days from the RFA date. This is also below the standard of 100 per cent.

According to the IMDA, one contributing factor is that the residential broadband landscape has evolved to one with high adoption of fibre broadband services among households.

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.

The IMDA said: "As the existing fibre broadband service is delivered through an optical fibre, to provision service to these households, either a second optical fibre, or handing over of this first optical fibre between service providers, is required."

"While NetLink Trust has provisioned first fibre orders relating to a household's initial broadband service in a timely manner, it has taken a longer time to provision some orders relating to such switches."

As for non-residential service orders, NetLink Trust is required to fulfil 80 per cent of non-residential service orders within four calendar weeks of the date of the service order, or by the RFA date.

During the assessment period from January 2016 to March 2017, NetLink Trust fulfilled 72.06 to 97.54 per cent of non-residential service orders within this timeline. On a monthly basis, its performance from January 2016 to May 2016 was close to, but still below, the standard of 80 per cent.

It is also required to fulfil 100 per cent of these service orders within eight calendar weeks of the date of the service order, or within four calendar weeks of the RFA date. NetLink Trust only met 88.74 to 99.8 per cent of these service orders within this timeline.

It had improved its work processes for the provisioning of non-residential orders, enabling it to improve its performance for the current assessment period. However, its performance was still under their standards, said the IMDA.

In deciding the financial penalty quantum, the IMDA had considered the efforts of NetLink Trust to provision services on time, improvements shown and the nature of end user demands. It will continue to monitor NetLink Trust's performance closely.

Tong Yew Heng, CEO of NetLink Trust, said: "We take our regulatory obligation on service delivery seriously. We have adopted measures to improve our QoS (Quality of Service) performance."

He added that the firm will continue to work closely with key stakeholders to improve its performance to meet regulatory service standards.