Apply 'Municipal Services Office concept' in private sector

Apply 'Municipal Services Office concept' in private sector

Last Thursday, my fibre network service broke down. I called SingTel and a technician came by the next day.

He found that the problem was with the fibre-optic network owned and managed by OpenNet, and left as it was not SingTel's issue.

Two hours later, OpenNet sent its team to my house. Unfortunately, it could not resolve the problem either.

I found the whole process a waste of time and effort.

OpenNet is owned by a SingTel unit but, because of operational and management issues, it took two teams to investigate the breakdown.

I recall with fondness how SingTel used to be in charge of all infrastructure and service provision, and a call to its one-stop service centre was all it took to fix a problem.

Unfortunately, silos have been created with privatisation, segmentation and competition.

In view of Singapore's grand vision to create a smart city and integrated homes, we should not have such artificial barriers.

Instead, we should aim for integrated infrastructure and service provision. I hope the Infocomm Development Authority can do something about it, rather than say this is a "private-sector matter".

I also hope other government agencies can apply the "Municipal Services Office concept" to areas such as public transport and health care ("Municipal services unit to launch app, establish protocol"; Tuesday), and not have gaps in the provision of services owing to privatisation or introduction of competition into the sectors.

Raymond Toh

This article was first published on Sept 25, 2014.
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