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MDA fines StarHub for cable disruption

The Media Development Authority (MDA) in Sinagpore has fined StarHub Cable Vision (SCV) S$50,000 for a cable television disruption on September 28th 2013.

The incident, which started at around 12.40 a.m., lasted for nearly five hours and is estimated to have affected about 170,000 SCV subscribers across various parts of Singapore.  Those impacted experienced a complete signal loss for both paid and free-to-air TV channels which are accessed through their SCV cable points.

Services were progressively restored within five hours from the onset of the incident. Free-to-air TV channels were restored by 1:35am while other channels were fully restored by 5:30am.

Investigations revealed that the root cause of the service disruption was a power trip of a switchboard at SCV’s Ayer Rajah Headend. This switchboard supplied power to equipment used for transmitting cable TV signals. The initial electrical outage triggered different backup systems to kick-in but these systems either tripped due to the sudden power surge during the switchover, or were subsequently fully-drained of power. Their failure eventually resulted in the service disruption on September 28th 2013.

As a Nationwide Subscription Television Service Licensee, SCV must comply with licence conditions on Quality of Service (QoS), which requires pay-TV services to be provided at reasonable quality that meets public expectations and is satisfactory to the MDA.
MDA has determined that the disruption could have been prevented or made less severe if SCV had put in place effective contingency measures to deal with the power surge, such that the back-up system would not have been overloaded.   MDA thus finds StarHub to be in contravention of its QoS licence condition, and has imposed a financial penalty of S$50,000.

In determining the financial penalty, MDA took into consideration factors such as SCV’s service recovery actions, as well as the goodwill measures it subsequently extended to affected subscribers.

MDA notes that following this disruption, SCV has undertaken remedial actions to prevent a recurrence.

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