MCI's Response to PQ on Resiliency of Telecommunication Networks & Services against Massive Outages
Parliament Sitting on 9 January 2024
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
45. Mr Sitoh Yi Pin: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information in view of the recent Optus network outage in Australia (a) what is the assessment of the resiliency of Singapore's key telecommunication networks and services; and (b) what measures have been implemented to prevent such massive network outages in Singapore.
Telecommunication networks and services are essential to the public and businesses, enabling communication and connectivity between people and businesses. Singapore’s key fixed and mobile telecommunication networks are required to be designed for resilience with high availability, on par with international standards. Key telecommunication service providers are also required to uphold service quality standards, such as: (i) providing nationwide outdoor service coverage of at least 99% for mobile services; and (ii) ensuring network availability of at least 99.9% for fibre broadband services. They have consistently met these requirements.
These providers are also required to conduct continuous regular audits in areas like their infrastructure, processes and business continuity plans, to ensure that the resilience of their networks is on par with industry standards and international best practices (e.g. those set by global bodies such as the International Telecommunication Union and International Organization for Standardization). They have consistently achieved a high level of compliance for past audits for both fixed and mobile networks.
To achieve a high level of resilience, critical network components of each fixed and mobile network are built with failover capabilities and diversity, to minimise widespread service disruptions. At the system level, resilience is further achieved through a diversity of networks, with multiple service providers offering a variety of mobile, broadband and public WiFi services.
Should service disruptions occur, telecommunication service providers are expected to restore services quickly, undertake rectification measures to prevent recurrences, and offer appropriate measures such as fee waivers to mitigate the impact on affected users. Financial penalties may also be imposed on telecommunication service providers found responsible for the service disruptions.
That said, regulations and penalties cannot fully eliminate the possibility of service disruptions. Businesses and end users should plan and prepare for contingencies by leveraging upon the diversity of networks or service providers, based on their needs.