M1 signs deal to install fibre links

M1 signs deal to install fibre links

At least one Internet service provider (ISP) has taken things into its own hands after continued delays in the roll-out of Singapore's high-speed fibre broadband network.

From Friday, M1 will hook its business customers up to the fibre network, a job previously undertaken solely by network builder NetLink Trust, formerly OpenNet. NetLink signed an agreement yesterday with M1 for the latter to undertake fibre installation.

ISPs like M1 buy fibre links wholesale from NetLink Trust and then retail their use to customers. End-users who place their orders with ISPs have to wait for NetLink Trust to install fibre optic cables and connection points before they can start surfing.

However, some business customers have waited more than two months for this to be done, largely because building owners have been uncooperative in allowing access to their buildings.

Mr Willis Sim, M1's director of product development and corporate solutions, said it wants to manage the process better by reducing the number of intermediaries.

"For instance, we will be able to identify bottlenecks faster and work with our customers and relevant parties such as the building owner to promptly resolve the issue," he said.

In 2012, StarHub offered to help NetLink Trust ease installation delays by hooking its customers up to the fibre network, but was turned down.

When contacted yesterday, StarHub did not say if it had offered to help again. It simply said: "Our enterprise customers are and have been facing long delays in service activations from NetLink Trust, for the installation of the fibre termination point at their premises."

Another ISP, ViewQwest, said 95 per cent of its business orders take longer than four weeks to complete.

Mr Nick Yen, owner of Orgo, a bar and restaurant at the Esplanade, said he has been waiting for fibre broadband connections since placing an order last November. "Our operations depend on it; our point-of-sale system works over Wi-Fi, which is currently on the slower ADSL technology."

A business user at THM Building in Chang Charn Road near Redhill, who declined to be named, said he has waited close to three months. "I understand that my building has no fibre links yet," he said.

Under new regulatory standards, NetLink Trust must connect 80 per cent of new business sign-ups within four weeks of the order date and the remaining 20 per cent within eight weeks.

NetLink Trust was fined $240,000 by the Infocomm Development Authority in May last year for such delays. The Singtel business trust bought over OpenNet for $126 million in August 2013.

itham@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on April 28, 2015.
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