During the circuit breaker period in Singapore, practically everyone was working or studying from home. Having consistent broadband access was even more critical at such a time. Imagine the horror of many when their connections via StarHub and M1 were interrupted.
For the downtime, the two telcos were slapped with fines by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). StarHub was handed a S$210,000 financial penalty while M1 has to pay S$400,000 — both fines are for contravening the Code of Practice for Telecommunication Service Resilience 2016.
IMDA took into consideration relevant factors such as the duration, impact, and customer service measures adopted by the operators to mitigate impact when deciding on the quantum of the penalty.
StarHub’s broadband discruption on April 15, 2020 impacted up to a quarter of a million subscribers. The cause was a configuration error during a planned network migration exercise.
M1’s two incidents occurred on May 12 and 13, 2020. Up to 18,000 subscribers were affected for 23 hours by a corrupted profile database in its Broadband Network Gateway. The second incident caused by a software fault in M1’s network equipment pained 20,000 subscribers for about six hours.
“We take a serious view of any service disruption to public telecommunications services, particularly during the circuit breaker period when most people were working and studying from home, and will take firm and decisive action to safeguard our consumers’ interests,” said Aileen Chia, Deputy Chief Executive of IMDA.
“Operators must communicate any service difficulties with their customers and rectify incidents expeditiously, and should provide good service recovery measures to affected customers. We will continue to work with operators to strengthen network resilience and improve customer communications,” she added.