SingTel slapped with record fine of $180,000 for EPL disruption on mio TV

The Media Development Authority has slapped SingTel with a record fine of $180,000 for a mio TV glitch that disrupted the live telecasts of the English Premier League matches last May.

About one-third of SingTel's pay-TV customers, or 115,000 households, who tuned in to the concluding football matches on May 13 last year experienced intermittent screen freezes and blurred images.

The problem started at 10.15pm that day affecting households islandwide including Yishun, Clementi, Bukit Timah, Toa Payoh, Punggol and Pasir Ris, MDA investigations revealed. Full service quality was only restored at around 12.15am after the televised matches concluded, MDA said in a statement Thursday.

Its investigations traced the cause of the service disruption to "the higher level of channel switching" among subscribers viewing the live matches. Ten games were being telecast live simultaneously that day. A high number of customers switching between channels at unusually high frequency had led to network congestion that resulted in reception difficulties for viewers.

Under its licensing obligations, SingTel must provide pay TV services "at reasonable quality that meets public expectations and is satisfactory to the MDA", the regulator said.

But MDA also noted that SingTel had compensated affected viewers in the form of subscription rebates amounting to about $5 million, hence its decision on the fine amount.

The operator also enhanced its mio TV switching system by changing the software configuration and upgrading the capacity of the links between switches to prevent a similar recurrence.