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Gov’t upgrades rating of KT’s Ahyeon facility

Jan 07,2019
The government has ordered KT to upgrade its Ahyeon telecommunications switching station, the site of a fire last year that caused major disruptions across the capital, from level D to level C, and improve its disaster monitoring system and failsafe measures.

The Ministry of Science and ICT announced Sunday that it ordered five mobile carriers and landline operators like SK Broadband to adjust the level of 12 telecommunications facilities so a suitable failsafe and disaster monitoring system might be installed depending on the facilities’ importance.

Facilities’ level of importance determines what safety mechanisms and systems it is equipped with.

The announcement comes after a fire broke out at KT’s Ahyeon facility in Seodaemun District, western Seoul, in November, causing larger-than-expected telecommunications chaos in five major districts, as well as nearby Goyang, Gyeonggi, on the outskirts of Seoul.

Though the facility covers telecommunications network for five districts in Seoul, it was only categorized as level D in terms of importance by KT and was not equipped with a system to reroute traffic should the facility sustain damage. Rerouting, a failsafe that level D facilities are not equipped with, would have kept telecommunications systems on line or at least contained the damages.

The Science Ministry said the Ahyeon facility should be level C considering it affects three or more districts if it goes down due to disaster.

For the same reason, the ministry ordered SK Broadband to upgrade two of its level D facilities in Gwangju to level C and one in Jeonju, North Jeolla to level B. KT will also have to upgrade two other switching centers in Hongseong and Cheonan, both in South Chungcheong, to level C from level D.

LG U+ needs to upgrade a switching center in Seoul that covers four districts - Jongno and Jung Districts, central Seoul, Eunpyeong, northern Seoul and Mapo, western Seoul - from level D to C.

The ministry ordered SK Telecom to upgrade its telecommunications center in Jeonju from level C to level B as the center covers the whole of North Jeolla.

The government also ordered carriers to pull down the levels of three facilities. For instance, while KT’s switching station in Suwon, Gyeonggi has been ranked level A, the Science Ministry said it should now be level D as some of its roles have been reallocated and it only manages telecommunications for a limited part of Suwon.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]