IMDA seeks comments on rules update for in-building telecoms equipment hosting

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Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has published a consultation paper seeking comment on its plan to upgrade regulations for building owners to accommodate communications facilities such as mobile base stations and smart-home connectivity ports.

The IMDA intends to update the Code of Practice for Info-communication Facilities in Buildings (COPIF), which ensures that developers and/or owners of buildings and developments provide adequate space and facilities for deployment and operation of equipment for providing info-communication services to the buildings.

The Code also specifies the duties to be observed by developers, building/development owners and telecommunication licensees in relation to the provision, maintenance and utilisation of the relevant space and facilities provided.

The proposed changes are partly intended to reflect recent legislative amendments to the country’s Telecommunications Act (TA), and to address trends such as growing expectations of consumers and businesses for more reliable and better-quality telecoms service standards.

For example, IMDA proposes to require building owners to provide rooftop space for mobile installations, arising from the amendments to the TA. IMDA also separately proposes to revise the operational details related to access to space and facilities within buildings for the installation of telecoms equipment, with the aim of ensuring optimal mobile coverage to a development and surrounding areas.

Other proposed changes aim to help address the increasing use of smart devices and applications in homes, by improving connectivity so that more devices and appliances can take full advantage of faster Internet speeds. For example, the IMDA is proposing to require developers and owners of residential buildings to provide an additional fiber termination point for each home and additional RJ45 or Ethernet outlets in the kitchen, main entrance and bedroom.

In addition, to enhance preparedness for outages or emergency situations, the IMDA is proposing to require that pre-determined emergency access procedures between building owners/managers and telecoms licensees are put in place.

The IMDA’s consultation paper invites views on proposed changes to the COPIF, which was last reviewed in 2013.

Proposed changes to COPIF  Current COPIF (2013) What it means for building developers and owners if the changes are adopted 
Designation of building rooftops as the preferred Mobile Deployment Space (MDS) No preferred designated MDS Building developers and owners must provide the rooftop space if requested by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), unless space is unavailable
Location of the MDS for installation of telecom equipment Building owner decides on the location of the MDS MNOs decide on the location of the MDS, in consultation with building developers and owners
Wider scope of the MDS to allow for “Springboarding” The MDS is used primarily to serve the development itself The MDS may be used to provide mobile coverage beyond the development
Inclusion of pre-determined emergency access procedures No specified requirement For buildings manned by security guards on a 24×7 basis, telecommunications operators are granted access within two hours of providing notice
Requirement of additional wiring or infrastructure to be installed for developments Developers and owners of residential buildings are required to pre-install one Fibre Termination Point (TP) in each home and at least 1 RJ45 outlet in each  bedroom and 2 RJ45 outlets in each living room Developers and owners of residential buildings will be required to provide an additional Fibre TP (i.e., two Fibre TPs) for each home and additional RJ45 outlets in the kitchen, main entrance and bedroom(s)

The public consultation is open now and will close on May 24. Further details, including the consultation document, are available here.

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