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SingNet fined S$500,000 by IMDA for service disruption in December 2016

INTERNET service provider SingNet has been fined S$500,000 by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) for the fibre broadband service disruption which occurred on Dec 3 last year.

IMDA said on Monday that its investigations had revealed that the service disruption was triggered by a planned maintenance by SingNet on its Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) servers.

"The maintenance activity, which was intended to install security patches, overloaded the DHCP servers and resulted in their inability to process subscribers' requests for Internet Protocol addresses. As a result, affected subscribers could not access the Internet."

IMDA said that while it was the planned maintenance that ultimately caused the overload, its investigations showed that there were already warning signs in the lead-up to the incident. For one thing, the utilisation rate of SingNet's DHCP servers had been steadily increasing and were running at 80-90 per cent levels even before the incident.

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IMDA said: "SingNet had failed to take prompt action to address the high utilisation loads before the incident. In view of the high utilisation levels, SingNet should have exercised greater due diligence and caution when planning the installation of security patches for its DHCP servers to prevent the overload."

It added: "IMDA thus finds SingNet to be in contravention of the Code of Practice for Telecommunication Service Resiliency 2016."

The incident was said to have affected nearly 90 per cent of SingNet's fibre broadband subscribers, and lasted close to 24 hours.