Earlier this week on 21 and 22 June, Astro customers everywhere had experienced difficulties in accessing some of the channels provided by the pay-TV operator. The true nature of the issue was not revealed but officially, Astro said that the disruption was caused by an outage experienced by its satellite operator.
Even though the company didn’t specifically mention the name of its satellite operator in the statement, it is a publicly known fact that Astro relies on MEASAT satellites for its operations. According to a document that Astro has filed with Bursa Malaysia in 2019, the company leased 42 transponders on MEASAT satellites.
Aside from Astro, it turns out that MEASAT’s own broadband service, CONNECTme had also faced disruptions as well.
Below is MEASAT’s reply in response to Lowyat.NET’s query:
MEASAT had experienced an anomaly on one of its satellites at around 2pm on 21 June which had caused disruption to services. Only limited number of CONNECTme NOW sites are affected while the majority remain in service as we use multiple satellites to serve the market.
As you may be able to notice, none of these statements made direct reference to any particular satellite. However, the statement released by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) yesterday seemed to indicate that the culprit behind these disruptions is the MEASAT-3 satellite.
Made by Boeing just like MEASAT-1 and 2, MEASAT-3 was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in December 2006 and is said to have a 15-year service life which means that it would reach its end-of-life this year. According to a document from 2019 that we mentioned earlier, Astro is using 12 transponders on MEASAT-3 although the company has planned to stop using them once MEASAT-3d goes into orbit next year.
Citing the report that it has received from MEASAT, the regulator said that the MEASAT-3 has encountered thruster failure on 21 June which has jeopardised its position in the orbit. The situation has since been rectified by using backup thrusters and the transponders on MEASAT-3 were then activated once again at 9:30 AM yesterday.
MCMC has also revealed that around 14,000 customers were affected by this incident. The regulator also said that the incident has also disrupted video distribution and mobile telco services, aside from Direct-to-Home and VSAT operations such as Astro and CONNECTme.