Optus CEO Allen Lew has revealed that the telco has struck an agreement with SBS to have the broadcaster simulcast FIFA World Cup matches until the end of the group stages on 29 June.
The move comes in the wake of problems affecting Optus’ streaming Optus Sport service.
“We as Optus have strived to deliver an exceptional viewer experience and we deeply regret that this has not been the case for all Australians,” Lew told a media briefing this afternoon.
“Since Monday we have continued to improve our product and Optus has delivered the last six matches without any issue.”
“This has provided us with the confidence we needed to reassure the Australian public that we have got this and that our efforts have worked,” Lew said.
However the CEO added that confident as it is in its capabilities, Optus had “listened to the feedback from Australian soccer fans” and would give them the option of using either Optus Sport or SBS to watch the matches, at least until 29 June.
The telco is also going to be offering free access to Optus Sport until 31 August, and refunding customers who have already paid the $15 monthly fee to access the streaming service.
“This reaffirms our strategy to deliver quality content to customers and we have the conviction that when Australians try the product and they are given a choice to try our product they will in fact realise that it is a good product,” Lew said.
As part of the testing following the service’s meltdown over the weekend, the CEO said that Otpus had “ruggedised” it and boosted its resilience. Lew said Optus is confident that it has the “capacity and capability” to meet the needs of people seeking to watch the FIFA World Cup through the service.
Optus and SBS have not yet finalised arrangements for matches from the knockout stage onwards.
Lew said that the problems with the Optus Sports service on Sunday night had been compounded by a failure in a “critical part of our content delivery network”, making “the experience for a large number of Australians worse than it was the previous night”.
“We’ve learned from that and we’ve made sure our network is a lot more resilient and able to handle failures in different parts of our content delivery network,” the CEO said.
The telco had been using two different CDNs and one suffered a “critical failure” between the encoder and the packager, he said. “We’ve learned from that issue,” the CEO said.