StarHub to deliver pay-TV over fibre, but only to businesses for now

March 15th, 2013 | by Alfred Siew

(source: StarHub)

StarHub is using Singapore’s fibre network to deliver its pay-TV services to offices, restaurants and pubs from March 18, as it seeks to cut down on current terrestrial broadcasts to such business customers.

Despite being a cable operator, StarHub uses over-the-air signals to send its TV channels to many business customers because linking them up via its cable network would be expensive.

Now, with the new Internet protocol TV (IPTV) technology running on the fibre network, it could deliver three times as many channels than it does with its terrestrial broadcasts, it said yesterday.

The new medium also comes with interactive features, like Facebook shares, for example, which customers at pubs may tap on to enable more interaction on-site.

StarHub also said that the TV channels, showing many of its news and sports programmes, will be delivered smoothly because they will use a separate link from one that is used for Internet surfing.

This means a cafe, for example, can have an Internet link to offer a free Wi-Fi hotspot or use it for its own corporate functions, while still delivering the StarHub TV on Fibre channels clearly.

There is no clue, however, when homes will get such an Internet TV link. A StarHub spokesman would only say that it would provide an update when that service is ready for launch.

Unlike commercial buildings, almost all Singapore homes are plugged into StarHub’s cable network as well as the country’s new fibre network.

The cable operator is still running a relatively modern cable network that is just 20 years old and which it would likely aim to keep running for several more years yet, despite also offering fibre broadband services.

UPDATE: StarHub has responded with the following statement to clarify its position. 

“Despite being a cable operator, StarHub used over-the-air signals to broadcast TV channels to many commercial customers because of contractual restrictions in the Network Lease Agreement with SingTel which confines service to residential properties. As a result, commercial customers who wish to connect to StarHub’s cable network will have to bear the expensive network rollout cost to their premises.”


  1. Guest says:

    it is not always possible to get good speed with wireless routers due to factors like distance away from router, wireless network interference from neighbour’s wireless routers and so on.

    if they want to offer pay tv over fibre, they are probably going to have to consider whether homes can have more than one fibre broadband termination point (TP) or can they offer affordable structured cabling home services as some homes will have more than one tv or might have decided not to fixed their TP near the tv.

    • Alfred Siew says:

      Yes, that’s a good point. Structured cabling is still not something that everyone considers these days. I do know of many folks who sign up for a 100Mbps link but end up having horrible Wi-Fi connections coz of walls/neighbours’ interference, as you mentioned. Powerline is one solution, though not the most ideal.

      • Guest says:

        yes, agreed. for some reason, structured cabling tends not to come up. possibly it could be due to the need to run additional trucking (not good to look at), cost, or difficulty identifying/finding qualified experts who are able to do installation and testing.

        they could go with powerline, but it depends how much speed and data is needed for pay tv over fibre, especially if they make it interactive. in older homes with older wiring, as with wireless networks, it could be an issue preventing the second tv to have smooth transmission.

        • Alfred Siew says:

          Thanks. Great point about interactive TV. I know SingTel uses powerline as a solution for its mioTV programmes to be streamed from one room to another. But if there are problems with old wiring, I’d imagine having a few HD channels on time-shift may not be ideal! 🙂

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