Singtel fined $145k for two separate pay-TV disruptions

Singtel has been fined $145,000 for two separate pay-TV disruptions that resulted in customers being tuned out of programmes across more than 10 channels each time.

The first incident, which took place on Oct 1 last year, lasted for more than one hour, during which 100 Singtel TV subscribers islandwide experienced the complete loss of programmes on 11 channels.

Investigations by local regulator, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), showed that damaged fibre optic cables caused the initial disruption.

Under normal circumstances, pay-TV signals would have been automatically routed to back-up fibre optic cables.

But this did not happen due to a faulty receiver card for automating the switchover to the back-up cables.

"SingNet did not have a robust process to test that the receiver card was functional," said IMDA in a statement yesterday evening.

For this, Singtel was fined $55,000. SingNet is a unit of Singtel.

The second fine of $90,000 was for an incident on Jan 5 this year that lasted for about three hours.

About 1,400 Singtel TV viewers islandwide encountered an intermittently pixelated TV screen across 15 channels.

This was caused by a poorly configured router installed in August last year that could not handle the network traffic it was meant to.

Before meting out the financial penalties, IMDA considered Singtel's response to the incidents, the extent of the disruptions and its track record.

The authority noted that Singtel has committed to preventing future disruptions.

A Singtel spokesman said: "We regret the disruption of some channels that affected a small number of households."

The telco said it is reviewing IMDA's decisions and will assess whether it wants to file appeals.

The biggest penalty imposed by the regulator for a pay-TV problem was a $220,000 fine on Singtel over a nine-hour TV disruption on May 15, 2013. That was four days before the final day of the English Premier League season that year.

About 26,000 pay-TV subscribers could not start up their set-top boxes due to a glitch.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2016, with the headline 'Singtel fined $145k for two separate pay-TV disruptions'. Print Edition | Subscribe