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SingTel fined record $145K for pay TV disruption

Singapore telco has been fined S$180,000 (US$145,705) for last May's glitch on its mio TV service which disrupted the broadcast of the concluding matches of the Barclays Premier League football season.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

SingTel has been fined a record S$180,000 (US$145,705) for the islandwide disruption to its pay TV service in May last year. A glitch had cut off the closing minutes of last season's Barclays Premier League matches including the title decider which involved two late goals.

mio tv menu
A glitch on SingTel's mio TV service last May affected 115,000 subscribers. (credit: SingTel)

In a statement Thursday, Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA) said investigations revealed some 115,000 subscribers of SingTel's mio TV service--a third of the customer base--were affected. Some affected areas included Yishun, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Bukit Timah, Toa Payoh, Marine Parade, Punggol and Pasir Ris, it added.

"Viewers experienced reception issues including intermittent screen freezes and blurred images from 10.15pm onwards. Full service quality was only restored at around 12.15am after the televised matches concluded," the MDA said in the statement.

According to the regulator, the service disruption was caused by a spike in the number of users channel switching during the closing minutes of the matches, which led to network congestion and ultimately resulted in reception difficulties.

SingTel subsidiary SingNet had failed to comply with the Quality of Service (QoS) required as a nationwide subscription television service licensee, resulting in the financial penalty, said the MDA. In meeting out the fine, the MDA noted SingNet had provided compensation to affected users in the form of subscription rebates amounting to about S$5 million (US$4 million), and had taken remedial actions to prevent a recurrence.

Last year, SingTel was fined S$80,000 (US$65,297) for an outage of its pay TV service, which affected about 850 subscribers in late 2011. 

Consumers ZDNet spoke with were largely unhappy over the magnitude of the latest penalty.

Jack Ho, a financial services executive, pointed out the fine seemed small for the number users affected. "It works out to just a bit more than a dollar per affected subscriber," he said.

Another subscriber Sally Lim, a teacher, said she was still unsatisfied with the level of quality of her service as reception was not "stable" and the images "occasionally lagged".

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