Optus is under fire from soccer-loving customers after the first three nights of its exclusive full broadcast of the FIFA 2018 World Cup were plagued by technical issues leaving viewers staring at error screens instead of the live matches.
But now Optus has resorted to offering free Fetch TV set-top boxes valued at $170 while stocks last for its customers affected by the streaming so they can watch the live World Cup matches without interruption.
People vented their anger on social media with fans asking the telco to hand over the coverage to a TV network like broadcast partner SBS which can only be showing 25 games including all of the remaining Socceroos matches.
The embarrassing situation also drew an apology from Optus CEO Alan Lew.
“We should have done better, we can do better and we will do better,” Mr Lew said.
“Australians can be assured that this has my personal attention, and the entire network team’s attention and we will solve it.”
Unfortunately, only hours after that apology the service glitched again last night and fans were greeted with “Playback Error” messages.
It appears the issue is capacity for the streaming service with Optus systems unable to cope with demand.
At one point Optus Sport advised viewers to switch to the Optus/SBS 2018 FIFA World Cup app to watch the Croatia v Serbia match.
The issues reportedly also affected customers trying to watch the game on Optus Sport through the Fetch TV set top box.
The only way to view every game of the FIFA 2018 World Cup is to pay a $15 a month fee or as part of an Optus mobile or Optus broadband account.
Ok enough his enough ! It’s time the government gets involved and get the games back to @SBSSport ! Does anyone care ? Unacceptable
— Robbie Slater (@RobbieSlater17) June 17, 2018
At the time of writing, Optus were also offering a free Fetch TV Mini from their stores but customers took to Twitter to say Optus Stores were unable to process these transactions.
So what can Optus do?
But some Optus customers in Melbourne were able get their hands on the free Fetch TV boxes.
Anyone with a Fetch TV box can sign in to watch the games on their TV through their Optus Sport account.
Optus should admit they aren’t up to the World Cup, and give SBS the games back. That would reduce pressure on their network for those who need to stream it. Their EPL streaming is good now after a wonky start, but the World Cup is too important to screw up this badly.
— Dom Knight #bebest (@domknight) June 17, 2018
Optus engineers will no doubt be working overtime to avoid the Optus Sport issues occurring again.
It should be understood that the problem has nothing to do with the speed of your home internet connection – it was an issue with the Optus infrastructure.
For those users currently experiencing technical difficulties on Optus Sport, please enter your details into the 2018 FIFA World Cup app to watch the Costa Rica-Serbia game while our tech teams work to fix the problem.
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) June 17, 2018
If the problem continues, Optus might be faced with no other alternative but to allow SBS to broadcast all of the matches.
As it stands, SBS can only broadcast 25 live matches including all of the Socceroos matches and all matches from the quarter finals all the way to the final.
Optus has the rights for the 2022 FIFA World Cup as well.