World Cup games to air on free TV amid problems in…

Australians will continue to be able to watch the Football World Cup on SBS after telco Opus relinquished exclusive

Optus CEO Allen Lew said on Wednesday afternoon that the company "deeply regret" streaming issues.

Federation Internationale de Football Association has said it has been "extremely satisfied", with the quality of refereeing at the World Cup and said the introduction of video assistant referees (VAR), has been a success.

Optus chief executive Allen Lew said the telco was confident it had fixed the problems that have plagued its streaming service so far, but it wanted to provide Australians with choice.

Customers who paid for the streaming service would now have their $15 fee refunded.

After that, Optus' Sport app and service will still be free, featuring the games SBS won't be airing, and providing free sport until August 31, well after the 2018 World Cup has finished.

There were also issues on the opening night of the tournament with drop-outs, freezing pictures and logging-on problems.

Australian telco Optus has been under fire from outraged fans after World Cup games were constantly disrupted by frozen screens, buffering, service interruptions and error messages.

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"Optus and SBS have agreed that SBS can televise all FIFA World Cup games for the next 48 hours, giving all Australians the chance to enjoy the tournament", SBS said.

While Optus has exclusive rights to the entire tournament, free-to-air SBS is screening all games featuring the Australian team, plus some select matches. We want Australians to be able to experience the content we have on offer.

"There's no doubt this has adversely affected the Optus brand", an apologetic Lew said, "everybody is very disappointed, to put it mildly".

"The reason why we have announced what we did today is that the feedback from all Australians is that they want to have choice, so we've made a decision to listen to Australians and given them that choice, rather than forcing them to take our product, we have given them the choice to come to our product which we believe in". However, the telco will still continue to simulcast with SBS moving forward.

A weekend of criticism saw Optus reach an agreement with SBS for the public broadcaster to air four extra games on Monday and Tuesday while its technicians worked on a solution. Securing the EPL rights (which Optus recently locked in until 2022) is considered one of the main reasons it won 384,000 new mobile customers last fiscal year, which ended in March.

"We appreciate customers have given us another go and invite those to tune in for tonight's games", he said.

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