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StarHub internet users working, studying from home tell of frustration at extended outage

SINGAPORE — Some disgruntled StarHub users missed work deadlines, while others could not join colleagues for video conferences owing to a major internet outage on Wednesday (April 15) that lasted up to nine hours.

StarHub internet users working, studying from home tell of frustration at extended outage

StarHub internet services were down for a large part of the working day on April 15, 2020, frustrating those working from home or finishing up assignments for home-based learning.

SINGAPORE — Some disgruntled StarHub users missed work deadlines, while others could not join colleagues for video conferences owing to a major internet outage on Wednesday (April 15) that lasted up to nine hours.

In a statement issued at 9pm on Wednesday, Mr Chong Siew Loong, StarHub’s chief technology officer, said that all its affected services had been fully restored as of 8.20pm on the day. For some users, the outage began about 11am, based on social media posts.

Mr Chong added that the telco will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure service stability for its customers.

StarHub said earlier in the day that the service disruption was caused by a network issue with one of its domain name servers that handles internet traffic routing.

The outage caused confusion and frustration for StarHub users across Singapore, many of whom were either working from home or finishing up school assignments for home-based learning. The disruption did not affect commercial services.

Because of the outage, freelance photographer Jethro Hoon was not able to submit a set of photographs to his client which needed to be reviewed and approved by Wednesday evening.

The 27-year-old, who lives in Yio Chu Kang, said that his internet problems began around 3pm and service was restored only at 8pm, an hour before the photographs were supposed to be put up by his client on Instagram.

While his client was ultimately understanding of his network connectivity issues, Mr Hoon said he was still frustrated that the connection was unavailable during such a critical time when most people are working from home.

“Businesses rely on the internet to get things done. Especially (for us) freelancers, we need it to talk to clients.

“I understand that technical difficulties will happen but this is an exceptional time. Because of the circuit breaker, all the more (the network) should not be going down,” he said.

The same frustrations were felt by accounts manager Christine Lee-Tan, 48, who was unable to join a meeting with her colleagues on the video conferencing platform Zoom.

In addition, the Bedok resident said that her eight-year-old daughter who, along with most other Singaporean students, is on home-based learning, was unable to log into the Student Learning Space system to complete her school assignment.

In the end, Ms Lee-Tan used her mobile data hot spot provided by another telco to enable her daughter to complete her homework and to perform her own work tasks.

Other disgruntled workers who have a StarHub internet service at home but with mobile plans with a different telco also switched to using their mobile data to finish their work assignments.

A trainee lawyer, who wanted to be known only as Ms Kit, 23, said that she was unable to access her work email without using her mobile hot spot.

Ms Zhixin Teo, 23, who works in the hospitality industry, also resorted to using her mobile data to complete her work assignments. The Toa Payoh resident had experienced connectivity issues since 2.30pm on Wednesday.

Aside from working adults, students on home-based learning bemoaned the disrupted service as they were working on assignments that were due in the coming weeks.

Mr Gabriel Ong, 18, who studies at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and is sitting for his International Baccalaureate examinations later this year, said that the lack of service was an inconvenience because many of his school materials are on Google Drive.

He, too, ultimately used his mobile data to continue working on his school assignments.

On the other hand, undergraduate law student Sia Bao Huei, 23, said that he was unable to access the materials he needed for a research paper that he is working on, which is due next week.

As his service was restored only at around 8pm on Wednesday, Mr Sia had to resort to asking his schoolmates to send the documents he needed over messaging platform Telegram because it was the only application that could still connect to the internet.

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StarHub internet outage Covid-19 coronavirus

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