DirecTV to pay $2M in Chile for alleged overheating, uncertified set-tops

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AT&T announced last month that it is exploring an initial public offering for its Latin American DirecTV assets in the first half of the year. (DirecTV)

The Chilean Supreme Court upheld a lower agency decision to fine DirecTV $2 million for deploying uncertified and allegedly unsafe pay TV set-tops in the country. 

The fine was originally levied against DirecTV’s Latin American unit by Chile’s Superintendencia de Electricidad y Combustibles (SEC). The fine came after a fire in the city of Talcahuano in 2015 was found to have been caused by an overheated set-top. (The Supreme Court decision was originally reported on by Advanced Television.)

The SEC ruled that 1 million set-tops, including some distributed in the region by Liberty Global, failed to comply with its safety rules. 

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“The Supreme Court’s decision highlights the company’s obligation to deliver safe products for the users, taking all the necessary measures, which are defined by our regulations, in order to guarantee safety,” said Luis Ávila Bravo, head of the SEC, in a statement.

AT&T announced last month that it is exploring an initial public offering for its Latin American DirecTV assets in the first half of the year.

The division was acquired in the $48.5 billion purchase of DirecTV in 2015. It includes satellite TV services in the Caribbean and South American countries such as Colombia and Argentina, as well as a 93% stake in Sky Brazil and 41% ownership of Sky Mexico. 

The division reported 139,000 net adds last year and finished 2017 with 13.6 million total subscribers. In total, the DirecTV Latin American assets are valued by as much as $10 billion.