Cape Town – The StarSat pay-TV operator in South Africa has gone down again on Wednesday evening for thousands of StarSat subscribers with the latest blackout continuing into Thursday, this time due to a technical problem with decoders.
In April StarSat was hit by a blackout which for two days saw the Woodmead based pay-TV platform go dead caused by a broken fibre link at the uplink site in Slovenia used by On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media SA running StarSat.
StarSat says subscribers are experiencing the blackout and service interruption and smartcard problems due to a technical problem with StarSat decoders.
TV screens are telling StarSat subscribers that their legitimate cards with a paid-up subscription "is not authorised" – an image of black TV screens with the few sentences on it that StarSat subscribers seized on to start posting on social networks.
It's not clear how StarSat subscribers who've paid go about for a refund for the time period they were not receiving a signal.
"There is a technical problem with some of the decoders which the technicians are investigating. It involves a new code that is being resent to these decoder boxes which should rectify the problem," StarSat tells Channel24.
The latest problem for the operator which is battling sporadic, regular technical problems impacting its subscriber base, is occuring as some executives are in Beijing, China for the 5th African Digital Development Seminar, sponsored by StarTimes.
'This service sucks'
StarSat subscribers are complaining, like in April, about the lack of StarSat customer service, the bad customer service centre they're struggling and are unable to get through to when there's a crisis, and slamming StarSat for getting "worse from bad".
Once again the telephone number of StarSat's customer care centre was "unobtainable" when called on Wednesday evening and on Thursday morning – similar to what happened in April.
It seems to indicate that ODM and StarTimes Media SA did little in the past two months to learn from April's damaging incident to implement a better system during a service outage to handle the larger volume of anxious StarSat subscribers seeking help.
"Where is the customer service?" asked Dave Eddington on StarSat's Facebook page.
"My decoder is blocked but to date I can't get hold of you. If you phone you must hold but no-one answers the phone. This service sucks big time," said Hilda Kruger.
"Please Starsat, tell us what's happening and we will understand. However avoiding us makes us mad. Please talk to us, Starsat," begged Kennis More.
"The sad part to all of this is that no message is showing to apologise for this inconvenience that is caused," remarked Noluyanda Msila.
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