World Cup telecasts experiencing quality issues Down Under

SYDNEY — An Australian telecommunications company with streaming rights to the World Cup has allowed the free-to-air SBS network to televise matches for 48 hours while it attempts to resolve a series of disruptions that have plagued the service.

Optus Sport bought broadcast rights for most World Cup games from SBS, although all Australian matches and the World Cup final remain on SBS.

The technical issues include poor-quality match footage or no vision at all, prompting complaints from those who paid to subscribe to the service.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took the unusual step of contacting Optus chief executive Allen Lew, wanting assurances the problems would be fixed. Optus later agreed to let SBS broadcast a handful of matches that were intended to be exclusive to Optus, buying itself 48 hours to resolve all issues.

That run of content will end on Wednesday morning in Australia after Russia plays Egypt.

"There's no doubt this has adversely affected the Optus brand ... everybody is very disappointed, to put it mildly," an apologetic Lew said. "We will use the two days we have ... to robustly test the systems under different loads. We believe by that time we will have the technical issues resolved."

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