NCC takes action after Internet problems

FLAMING NUISANCE::A fire may have affected services for millions of Internet users in what seems to have been the worst disruption since the 921 Earthquake in 1999

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 - Page 4

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it had asked Internet service provider Chief Telecom Inc to review its backup power systems after a fire disrupted Internet services on Monday, adding that the company should compensate customers.

The fire started in a room at eASPNet Taiwan, a data center operator in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖). Chief Telecom, a subsidiary of Chunghwa Telecom, is based in the same building and leases a floor to eASPNet.

While the blaze caused no damage at Chief Telecom, the fire department asked that the building’s power supply be switched off, which affected its operations.

As Chief’s business partners include the nation’s three major telecoms carriers, as well as some overseas, media reported that the incident may have affected millions of users and was likely the worst Internet disruption since the 921 Earthquake in 1999.

In a statement yesterday, Chief said all its services were back to normal by 1:50am yesterday.

The commission said it is conducting inspections at eASPNet and Chief Telecom.

“We have asked that both service operators reinforce their risk management mechanisms, re-evaluate backup power supply systems and routing systems, as well as increasing their emergency drills,” the commission said. “They are also required to submit their plans to restore the facilities, make improvements and compensate customers for losses caused by this incident.”

The fire also reportedly affected people’s access to the Internet portal Yahoo-Kimo, the online ticketing system of Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp, McDonald’s delivery line, as well as other organizations’ online payment systems.

Chief said it was still assessing the incident’s impact, adding that it would discuss compensation with eASPNet.

Taiwan Mobile and Far Eastone Telecommunications also said they were assessing the damage and looking into compensation.

Chunghwa Telecom said it was unaffected by the fire because it has its own machine room and cable systems. Despite Chief Telecom being a subsidiary, Chunghwa said the two companies have separate financial and operational systems.

According to the commission, telecoms carriers must compensate customers based on the terms listed in standard contracts.

Customers are entitiled to a 5 percent discount on their monthly fee if their service is disconnected for between two and six hours, rising to an 8 percent deduction if they are unable to use the service for six to eight hours.

Should a disconnection continue for 12 to 24 hours, customers are entitled to a 20 percent deduction in their monthly fee.