06 Sep

StarHub, M1 fined over broadband service disruptions during COVID-19 circuit breaker

StarHub and M1 have been fined by IMDA over disruptions to their Broadband services in April and May respectively.

StarHub was fined $210,000 while M1 was fined $400,000 according to IMDA.

IMDA took into considerations “relevant factors such as the duration, impact, and customers service measures adopted by the operators to mitigate impact”.  The authorities said it has concluded its investigations and found that the telcos have contravened the Code of Practice for Telecommunication Service Resilience 2016.

StarHub’s service disruption affected up to 250,000 broadband subscribers for close to five hours  on Apr 15.

The incident occurred when a StarHub staff made a configuration error during a planned network migration exercise.

“IMDA’s investigations found that the incident could have been prevented if StarHub had better supervised its staff during the migration exercise,” said the authority.

It decided on a S$210,000 fine for the telco, having also considered its “efforts to restore services as soon as possible, and its prompt communication and compensation to affected subscribers”, added IMDA.

M1’s broadband service was disrupted over two days on May 12 and 13.

The first incident lasted 23 hours from 7am on May 12 to 6am on May 13, affecting about 18,000 customers.

The cause of the disruption was “a corrupted profile database in M1’s broadband network gateway”, said IMDA.

The next incident on May 13 lasted about six hours and affected up to 20,000 subscribers.

It “was caused by a software fault in M1’s network equipment, which affected the routing of Internet traffic for affected M1 subscribers”, said the authority.

“IMDA’s investigations found that the first incident occurred because M1’s staff and vendor had not followed prescribed procedures. For the second incident, IMDA assessed that as the software fault was the first of its kind for such equipment, M1 could not have reasonably foreseen and prevented the incident.”

On the amount of penalty given to M1 – S$400,000 – the authority said it also considered that the disruption “lasted almost a full day, causing significant inconvenience to affected subscribers, and M1’s proactive compensation to affected subscribers following the incident”.