Optus to offer Optus Sport free for all Australians until 31 August

Spark New Zealand are confident they will be able to deliver Rugby World Cup television coverage to Kiwis next year

GETTY Spark New Zealand are confident they will be able to deliver Rugby World Cup television coverage to Kiwis next year

SBS will broadcast the remainder of the World Cup's group stage games in the wake of the Optus streaming troubles that plagued the opening days of the tournament.

SBS had the rights to screen all Australian matches - the Socceroos play Denmark tomorrow night - plus some group clashes as well as the finals on free-to-air TV and then screen an extra four games over the last 48 hours as part of a back-up plan.

It means the remaining 31 group-stage matches will be accessible to a wider audience before the tournament reaches the knockout stages.

The move comes in the wake of problems affecting Optus' streaming Optus Sport service.

The company, which had secured rights to the 2018 World Cup, will share the rights with SBS until the end of the group stage. "This has provided the confidence we needed to reassure the Australian public that we have addressed these issues and that our efforts have worked", he added.

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

Telecommunications company Optus bought the broadcast rights for most World Cup games in Russian Federation but technical issues with the live streaming in Australia caused a major backlash from subscription buyers - to the point where the prime minister had to intervene.

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Michael Ebeid, chief executive and managing director of SBS said: "The Fifa World Cup is the absolute pinnacle of football, a sport that Australians are deeply passionate about".

"We are not able to consider complaints about content services such as sports programs streamed online".

"As we are now going to be free for all Australians, we will obviously expect more people on the app, that is something we will need to discuss separately with each individual advertiser", he said.

Late on June 19th Optus chose to abandon its OTT delivery completely. It was also discussed in Parliament during question time with opposition leader Bill Shorten suggesting that perhaps SBS funding cuts are to blame as this is the first year that SBS has not had exclusive rights to the World Cup.

His spokesman said angry consumers should contact Optus Sport in the first instance.

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

"At the end of the day, the World Cup gets a large number of viewership that's significantly higher than a season-long league competition", Lew told ZDNet.

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