SingTel compensates mio TV subscribers affected by patchy EPL coverage

Instead of the late goals, viewers saw frozen frames such as this instead (photo courtesy of Liu Jiaming)Instead of the late goals, viewers saw frozen frames such as this instead (photo courtesy …

Mio TV subscribers affected by repeated disruptions during the telecast of the English Premier League (EPL) season finale on 13 May will be credited a month's subscription charges as compensation.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, SingTel said that all customers who subscribed to the EPL bundle and whose set-top boxes were switched on during the broadcast of the final matches, will be credited a month's subscription of mio TV's Sports Pack, or $34.90, into their bills for June.

Letters notifying customers of the compensation were sent out on Wednesday and should arrive in the next three days.

SingTel's CEO of Consumer Singapore, Yuen Kuan Moon also gave customers the assurance that improvements have been made to its system to ensure similar problems will not occur again.

On the penultimate day of the EPL season, football fans eager to know the destination of the league title had tuned in to mio TV's simultaneous broadcast of both the Manchester City vs. QPR and Sunderland vs. Manchester United games.

But the coverage was disrupted by several frozen frames. The problem worsened in the last 10 minutes of the matches, causing many fans to miss the two late winning goals scored by eventual champions Manchester City.

Some affected fans who called SingTel 1688 customer hotline were left doubly frustrated after they were put on hold for several minutes without any assistance.

The patchy coverage also prompted several viewers to express their anger via letters sent to platforms such as Yahoo! Singapore's feedback channel (reachus@yahoo-inc.com).

SingTel apologised for its glitch-ridden coverage the next day and pledged "significant changes" to its system.

It added that the disruptions affected mostly customers in areas such as Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh and Tampines.

The company attributed the problem to the high number of viewers who "switched repeatedly between two channels at unusually high frequency".

This surge in switching volumes, which was five times higher than the previous peaks, caused a slowdown in the system and eventually led to the viewing problems, it added.

The disruption was so widespread that the Media Development Authority (MDA) stepped in to say it will investigate the complaints.

MDA also promised "to take firm action against service providers that breach their licensing conditions".

On Wednesday, SingTel's Yuen said changes have been made to "ensure that any future peaks in channel switching are managed smoothly".

These changes include changing the software configuration of the mio TV switching system such that future peaks can be accommodated.

"We are also refreshing the links between switches to a higher capacity," Yuen added.

Despite the goodwill gesture, most mio TV subscribers contacted by Yahoo! Singapore are still unhappy with the company.

Manchester United fan Benny Lim, 35, who subscribed to mio TV purely for its EPL broadcast, described the compensation as "a little too late".

The senior sales engineer said, "They should have enhanced the system a long time ago. What is the point of giving us compensation? The fact is we did not get to see the crucial goals scored by Manchester City that night."

But another customer, Jeanie Seah, 28, said SingTel's gesture "showed that at least it is remorseful".

"But the most important thing is it must really make sure the same thing don't happen again. Otherwise, it is going to lose many customers," the marketing manager added.

Do you think the compensation is sufficient?