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Cable-cutting rogue engineer caused ultra fast broadband havoc

Ex-SingTel employee given 15 months

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A former SingTel engineer took revenge on the Singaporean telco giant after being given the sack by sabotaging fibre optic cables on a staggering 600 separate occasions.

Thirty-five-year-old Terrance Tan Khoon Shan was handed a 15 month prison sentence after the disgruntled engineer was found guilty of cutting cables in various parts of the city-state island, according to Channel News Asia.

Singapore is one of the most connected nations on the planet with around 99 per cent of citizens able to access high speed internet services.

The cables targeted by Tan in his orgy of violence belonged to OpenNet, a consortium of four companies – Axis NetMedia, SingTel, Singapore Press Holdings and Singapore Power Telecommunications – which since 2010 has been building out Singapore’s Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN).

The NBN uses fibre optic cables to provide speeds of up to 1Gbps to Singaporeans but the report didn’t reveal whether Tan’s handiwork has significantly delayed the roll-out of the ultra high speed service, which it is hoped will reach 95 per cent of the population by mid-2012.

In the end Tan was convicted of 60 charges of cutting fibre optic cables, despite having been arrested for around ten times that, the report revealed.

Although defence lawyers tried to bargain that the engineer, who was sacked in September 2010 after just a year in the job, had mental problems, the district judge disagreed, labelling Tan’s crimes “senseless acts”.

The defence then tried to plead, unsuccessfully, that Tan’s was merely an opportunistic crime, despite him having done the same thing on 617 separate occasions.

In the end Tan can count himself lucky as he could have been handed down a three year jail sentence and maximum fine of $10,000 for each charge, according to the report. ®

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