Telcos may soon have to ensure back-up mobile networks: Minister

Telcos may soon have to ensure back-up mobile networks: Minister
SingTel’s Bukit Panjang Exchange is seen on Oct 9, 2013, after a fire damaged telecommunication cables inside. Photo: Ernest Chua
Govt mulls making geo-redundant mobile networks a requirement, says Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim
Published: 3:18 PM, November 11, 2013
Updated: 10:50 AM, November 12, 2013

SINGAPORE — Mobile operators here may soon have to put in place at least two sets of replicated network equipment, housed at different geographical locations, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said in parliament today (Nov 11).

In the event that one location is brought down, the other location is capable of immediately taking over the full load and capacity, explained Dr Yaacob, who added that international experts have indicated that no country has required its operators to build such a full geo-redundant mobile network at the core level.

The Minister added that this is an option that the IDA is currently studying, following a review of the three mobile operators’ networks following the M1 mobile telephone outage in January.

The IDA will implement an audit framework by the second half of next year, and they are currently in discussion with the mobile operators on the scope of the audit, which would cover network design, technical processes, business continuity planning, infrastructure and facilities to support the mobile network, Dr Yaacob said.

Dr Yaacob was responding to parliamentary questions from Chua Chu Kang MP Zaqy Mohamad on an update on the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) investigations following the fire at SingTel Bukit Panjang Exchange last month, as well as what lessons have been learnt, what actions the government will take as the investigation continues and what businesses and consumers can do to be more prepared.

“In the same way, the Government intends to wait for the outcome of IDA’s investigations (into the fire at the SingTel Bukit Panjang Exchange). Based on the findings, we will review if further policy measures are necessary, including having similar audit frameworks for other networks,” he said.