Sports

Optus flops in World Cup debut

Optus flops in World Cup debut

"We know Australian football fans are amongst the world's most passionate, and vocal, and we clearly understand Australia's passion for this major event, and the frustration that goes along with not being able to watch the event".

Demand is likely to grow as the tournament unfolds; Optus has exclusive rights to broadcast some quarter-finals and round-of-16 games.

Following a pricey rights deal, Optus is the only Australian broadcaster to air every game live, with the exception of SBS who is screening selected games.

The telco was on Monday forced to hand over all games to SBS for 48 hours as it worked to resolve technical glitches that buffered or froze its broadcast, prompting Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to seek assurances from CEO Allen Lew that the problems would be rectified.

As Optus continues to face outrage over its sub-standard FIFA World Cup broadcast, Chief Executive, Allen Lew, has announced it's passing six games onto free-TV provider, SBS, over the coming days as a "failsafe".

While some accused Optus of taking shortcuts on backend infrastructure, Optus Vice President of regulation and public affairs, Andrew Sheridan, said the technical issues were simply due to unprecedented demand. The second night of problems prompted a late night emergency meeting among top Optus execs and technicians, according to the Fairfax report by journalist Adam Turner.

SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid said if the technical issues are not fixed within 48 hours the simulcasting could be extended, but for now there were no plans to.

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An Optus spokesperson apologised to customers affected, but insisted "the majority of customers are having a good broadcast experience".

Optus initially attributed the playback problems, which mostly occurred on mobile smartphone and tablet platforms, to an unprecedented number of service sign-ups from customers.

But even in the early days, Optus Sport faced backlash from customers over poor quality streaming.

In a media statement attributed to Lew, a series of points were made in an attempt to apologise for the issues, promise a resolution and even offer Fetch Mini boxes to be made "available to customers where appropriate to improve their experience".

The company has thus far not advised if it's offering customer refunds for Optus Sport. The issue was also raised in parliament with Labor MP Stephen Jones claiming that Turnbull was warned during his spell as communications minister that cuts to SBS could damage coverage of the World Cup.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said services had to be fit for the goal and deliver what was promised.


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