Australian World Cup fans are not happy.
Australian World Cup fans are not happy.

Image: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Never get between fans and the World Cup.

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has stepped in after people complained of streaming issues with Optus, which holds the right to locally broadcast all the games at the tournament.

On Twitter, Turnbull said he had spoken with the telecommunications company’s CEO, Allen Lew, who reassured the problems would be fixed by Monday night.

Look, it’s kinda weird to have the leader of the country step in over an issue like this, but it comes after considerable pressure from a high amount of vocal users angry at buffering and playback issues during games — plus, it’s a pretty good way to up your approval rating.

The full rights to the World Cup in Australia were previously held by television network SBS, who primarily aired games via terrestrial broadcast (a.k.a. through your TV’s antenna).

Optus Sport uses the internet to stream games, and users have complained online about errors when trying to watch the event.

In a statement to Fairfax Media, Lew apologised “unreservedly” for the problems.

“We should have done better, we can do better and will do better,” he said. “Australians can be assure that this has my personal attention, and the entire network’s team’s attention, and we will solve it.” 

Optus said in a statement on Sunday that some viewers had experienced issues, and that it was working on improving the experience.

“Optus did not identify any issues with our own network last night on the live stream,” the statement read.

“However, some customers who watched the match on the Optus Sport app, on certain devices through other telco networks, experienced buffering issues.

“Optus has taken actions that are within our own control to improve the experience of these customers. As a result of these actions incidences of buffering reduced significantly during the course of the night to low levels.

“We believe the vast majority of viewers were not impacted and had a good viewing experience.” 

Fans will just have to wait and see about that.

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