Cape Town – The StarSat blackout which hit on Monday afternoon and Tuesday and saw the satellite pay-TV service in South Africa go dead was caused by a problem at the uplink site in Slovenia used by the operator.
Subscribers of the struggling StarSat, run by On Digital Media (ODM) and China's StarTimes Media SA, lost their channels on Monday afternoon, with no word or explanation from the Woodmead-based company as to what happened, why or when their service would be restored.
Angry StarSat subscribers also complained about being unable to get through to StarSat's call centre on Monday and Tuesday, only getting a recording saying the number is "unobtainable".
On Monday and Tuesday morning email and faxes to StarSat also didn't go through.
The transmission was restored on Tuesday afternoon. StarSat subscribers complained about the lack of communication from StarSat during the crisis and being unable to get any answers as to what is happening and what they have to do to restore their service.
A StarSat spokesperson told Channel24 that the problem with the signal loss was caused due to a broken fibre link to the uplink site in Slovenia.
The StarSat signal loss also caused different problems on the different StarSat decoders – the original TopTV branded ones, as well as the never HD capable StarSat branded ones imported from China.
StarSat explained that the email problem was a separate one and has been sorted out.
StarSat said its call centre was overloaded with calls, which is the reason why its subscribers battled to get through.
Scared and confused StarSat subscribers who engulfed StarSat's Facebook page, wondered whether StarSat has gone "belly up" since the company is still in business rescue and didn't get any answers on Monday. On Tuesday there was only a single short message, almost a day after the problem first started.
‘StarSat is not going out of business’
"Please be assured that StarSat is not going out of business but is still in operation," a spokesperson told Channel24.
After StarSat said the transmission was restored, StarSat subscribers are still reporting problems and being unable to get the signal and their TV channels back through their decoders. StarSat has not publicly posted or informed subscribers how to go about resetting or rebooting their decoders.
Several StarSat subscribers complained of wasting a lot of money waiting on hold trying to get through to the call centre in an attempt to hear what they have to do.
"Do we get credit for the time that we can't get service? After all you are quick to cut service if the subscription lapses," asked Evan Davies.
"StarSat. What is going on?" said Michelle le Roux on Tuesday, echoing the shock, frustration and anger of many StarSat subscribers.
"This is the poorest service I have ever experienced in my life.Your service is the poorest," said Thea Botes.
"How about answering a phone! Or giving one that actually goes through to a consultant. I have wasted R150 on calls last night," said Charmaine Vorster.
"My mom is a pensioner and has spent sooo much money on airtime trying to sort her problem out. StarSat your service is pathetic," said Jeshika Maharaj.
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