SINGAPORE — SingTel said today (Oct 10) that services are expected to be fully restored by 7am tomorrow, following the massive disruption to a range of services islandwide caused by the fire at its Bukit Panjang facility yesterday afternoon.
Business services should be restored by 7pm today, SingTel also said.
In a hastily convened press briefing this afternoon, SingTel apologised for the disruption and outlined its plan to restore services as soon as possible. An estimated 60,000 broadband, 46,000 mioTV, and 30,000 mio Voice customers were affected by yesterday’s disruption.
But SingTel said that damage to its fibre chamber in the Bukit Panjang Exchange is more severe than expected, and that restoration efforts are taking “a bit longer than anticipated due to the difficult working environment”, Group Consumer Chief Executive Officer Paul O’Sullivan said.
SingTel said repair works have been made more difficult by the cramped space in the chamber, as well as the fibre cables’ colour codes, which have been charred black by the fire. More than 100 engineers worked through the night to this morning to restore services and are still working.
Nonetheless some restoration to services have been made. Consumer services have been restored to a relatively large extent, with 89 per cent of 3G base stations being restored, for instance. Services to 60,000 broadband customers have been restored to 76 per cent.
There still remains much work to be done to fibre services, however. Only 7,104 out of 22,000 Open Net strands have been restored. Each strand can carry between 16 business and 24 residential customers.
All business services, however, are expected to be fully restored by 7pm tonight, and other remaining services by 7am tomorrow.
The cause of the fire at the facility has not yet been determined and investigations are continuing.
A board of enquiry will be convened internally to try and boost security of facilities, but the current priority is to focus on restoration, Mr O’Sullivan said. Compensation details will only be revealed at a later date.
OPENNET ALSO AFFECTED
In a statement earlier today, OpenNet said that 81 of its cables were damaged in the fire, affecting some users in Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Bukit Timah, Choa Chu Kang, Kranji, Marsiling, Teck Whye, and Woodlands.
As each cable has numerous fibre strands, approximately 23,000 fibre strands were affected, disrupting an estimated 46,000 individual fibre connections.
OpenNet, the builder of Singapore’s ultra-fast fibre broadband network, said that restoration efforts continued through the night and that 27 per cent of the affected fibre connections have been restored.
The provider said that service to affected fibre subscribers is being restored progressively and all fibre connections are expected to be restored within the next 24-36 hours.
Yesterday’s fire disrupted services offered by SingTel, other telcos, banks and other companies, and affected tens of thousands of people.
Apart from disruption to fixed line, broadband and mobile services, ATMs and other banking services offered by DBS, POSB, UOB and OCBC were also down.