THE company rolling out Singapore's high-speed fibre broadband network racked up its third fine in two years yesterday, but it seems relieved.

Despite not making the grade, its improved performance meant the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) fined NetLink Trust, formerly OpenNet, $50,000, a far cry from past occasions when it had failed to deliver fibre orders to home and business users on time.

Mr Ng Yong Hwee, chief executive officer of NetLink Trust, said it was "heartened" that the authority had recognised its efforts to improve.

"Our efforts to increase service capacity have led to a significant improvement in our performance," he said.

The company has increased installation capacity during IT shows and extended service provisioning to Saturdays.

NetLink Trust was previously slapped with two fines totalling $440,000 for delays which affected homes and businesses last year.

Despite the fines, NetLink Trust, plagued by manpower issues, was unable to connect all home users within seven days of receiving an order, as required by IDA. During the first six months of the year, it was able to complete only 89.1 per cent to 94.85 per cent of orders within this time.

NetLink Trust also missed connecting 98 per cent of users within three days, as required. It completed between 85.34 per cent and 92.48 per cent of orders.

In contrast, as few as 2 per cent of home users' orders were fulfilled within three days in May last year, and only one-third of all orders were met within seven days the month later.

The standards, which took effect in January last year, came after two years of prolonged delays.

NetLink Trust has pledged to further improve service delivery although it did not give details.

Its latest proposal, tabled in June, to speed up installation times was yesterday thrown out by IDA as the authority said it was not proven to be effective, and would be difficult to implement.

NetLink Trust had wanted Internet service providers (ISPs) to supply it with a forecast of the daily broadband orders they were expecting, so it could set aside the appropriate manpower to fulfil them. If actual orders fell short of 90 per cent of the daily forecast, the ISP would have to pay a yet-to-be- decided "commitment fee".

Currently, ISPs such as StarHub, M1, SuperInternet and ViewQwest book an appointment with NetLink Trust when they receive an order for broadband, and wait for a NetLink Trust worker to activate the fibre links before carrying out installations.

ViewQwest chief executive Vignesa Moorthy gave IDA's decision the thumbs up. "We are still seeing an alarming number of delayed cases and frustrated customers which forecasting would do nothing to resolve. NetLink Trust needs to allocate more resources," he said.