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Fire at SingTel's Bukit Panjang Exchange Causes Outages Across Singapore (Update)

By Joy Hou, Sidney Wong & Vijay Anand - on 12 Oct 2013, 2:49pm

Fire at SingTel's Bukit Panjang Exchange Causes Outages Across Singapore (Update)

Update at 2.40PM 12/10/13: StarHub confirmed in a Facebook post that some of its fibre broadband customers are still facing problems with their services. The cause of the issue is probably due to reconnection issues during the restoration process. In the meantime, the telco is contacting affected customers to offer cable modems in the interim.

StarHub is offering cable modems for its fibre broadband customers who are still facing problems with their services.


Update at 5pm, 11/10/2013: In an interesting twist of updates, Viewqwest has reported that OpenNet has yet to provide them an estimated time for repairs to be completed and full restoration of Viewqwest's services to its customers. This is despite this morning's updates from OpenNet that they've completed restoration of cables. Looks like it will still be a while more before everyone's networking and telecommunications are back in operation as service providers and infrastructure owners gather feedback from their customers.

Update at 11AM, 11/10/2013:
OpenNet has reported that the restoration process at their Bukit Panjang Central Office has completed ahead of schedule and restored all affected cables that were damage in the fire. They are now working with their service providers (such as all the fiber broadband ISPs) to ensure customer connections are functional.


** All Updates from 10th October ** 

Update at 1PM 10/10/2013: OpenNet has revealed that the fire damaged 81 of OpenNet's fibre cables. Since each cable has numerous fiber strands, approximately 23,000 fiber strands were affected, disrupting an estimated 46,000 individual fiber connections.

OpenNet sent out a media alert yesterday that some fibre users in Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Bukit Timah, Choa Chu Kang, Kranji, Marsiling, Teck Whye, and Woodlands may experience service disruption due to the fire. Restoration efforts continued through the night and 27% of the affected fiber connections have been restored.

Restoration work is still ongoing by OpenNet. Service to affected fibre subscribers is being restored progressively and all fibre connections are expected to be restored within the next 24-36 hours.

Update at 9.15AM 10/10/2013: SingTel has tweeted that the damage is "more extensive than originally accessed", bringing the total number of cables that needs to be repaired to 51. It also said that more than 100 of their engineers worked through the night to restore 30 of the damaged cables. SingTel is still working on restoring all services as soon as possible.

IDA also reported that it had monitored the progress of the restoration works throughout the night.

Update at 01:00 AM 10/10/2013
StarHub posted on its Facebook page that cable TV and broadband services are restored for all its customers in Woodlands. However, there are numerous comments on the post by users in Woodlands claiming that services are still down. 

Image source: StarHub Facebook Page


** All Updates from 9th October **

*Update at 10.22PM: StarHub said it was able to restore fibre broadband services for some customers in Choa Chu Kang and Woodlands.

*Update at 9.45 PM: Services affected by the fire at SingTel's Bukit Panjang exchange are gradually being restored. 


As of 7.50 PM, only two DBS branches remained affected. In a statement posted on its website, DBS expects all banking services, including ATMs, to be restored by 8am, 10 October 2013

In its Facebook post 5 hours ago, DBS stated that it would extend operating hours of all DBS and POSB branches today by an hour. DBS customers who want to keep tabs on the latest developments can visit the DBS website or contact its call centre at 1800-111-1111. Branches affected include Asia Treasures 2 (Changi Airport), POSB Tampines East, POSB Toa Payoh Central, POSB Woodlands West, POSB Yew Tee, POSB Ang Mo Kio Central, POSB Bt Panjang, POSB Jurong Point, POSB Hougang Central, POSB Kampong Ubi, POSB Ngee Ann City, POSB Peninsula, DBS Woodlands, DBS Raffles Place Branch, DBS Holland Village, DBS Hougang, DBS Gleneagles, & DBS Ang Mo Kio Central.



SingTel posted an update on its Twitter page stating that 8 out of the 33 affected fibre cables have been restored. Its engineers will continue to work through the night to restore all services. Due to the fire, 33 fibre cables were damaged with more than 100 mobile base stations affected. Restoration of all services is estimated to be completed by 6AM tomorrow.

There are also around 60,000 fixed broadband lines impacted, around 30,000 mio TV customers, around 30,000 voice lines. Mobile services are affected in the following areas:  Woodlands, Marsiling and Kranji. Fixed services such as DEL, Broadband, mioVoice and mioTV) are affected in Bukit Panjang, Upper Bukit Timah, Chua Chu Kang, Woodlands and Mandai.



Affected services include Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang and Woodlands. StarHub is monitoring the situation closely and working to restore services as soon as they can.



According to its Facebook post four hours ago, M1 stated that the fire had affected the systems at its Causeway Point M1 Shop outlet. As a result, waiting times are expected to be longer. At point of publication, there is no further update as to whether its services are restored.



IDA posted on its Facebook Page 3 hours ago that it is aware that fixed line telephone, broadband, cable TV and mobile services of several operators in the northern parts of Singapore are affected by the fire. It is currently investigating the issue.


** Originally reported at 5.58PM, 9th October **

Earlier this afternoon, a fire broke out at SingTel's Bukit Panjang exchange, leading to partial mobile, TV, and phone outages across Singapore.

At 3.41pm today, the Internet service provider wrote on its Twitter that some fixed line voice, broadband, and mobile services "may (be) affected", and added that it was "working to restore service (as soon as possible)".

A spokesman for SCDF said it had been informed of the fire at 40 Woodlands Road at 2.16pm. SCDF used two jets to extinguish the fire, which was "inside the cable room at level one of the building", within 20 minutes. Prior to SCDF's arrival, about 50 people had already evacuated themselves, with no injuries being reported.

The first complaints surfaced on SingTel's Facebook page at about 3.30pm, with its customers complaining of disruptions to their Wi-Fi, fixed line, and broadband connections. The outage seems to have affected users located at North-Western parts of Singapore.

At 4.50pm, it was revealed that the fire had also affected M1's fibre broadband services. M1 has assured on on their Facebook page that there will be "updates when (they) have more information".

At 5.16pm, StarHub also reported that its cable TV, cable and fibre broadband and digital voice services have been affected. In an updated post on their Facebook account, StarHub explained that "(they) lease some SingTel optical fibre capacity that runs through this exchange".

Stay tuned as we bring you more updates.

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