EPL fan takes Optus to ACCC over 'live' claim

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 7 September 2016

A disgruntled English Premier League (EPL) fan has raised concerns with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over the telco's claims that games are streamed live.

The Australian is reporting this morning that Sydney-based fan and Optus customer, David Feeney, believes that Optus is misleading consumers by stating that EPL games are streaming live, when in fact usually there is a streaming delay of some 45-60 seconds.

Feeney told The Australian the current Optus offering “kills the enjoyment” of the games.

“My friends celebrate the goal that’s just been scored and I won’t see it on my screen for a whole minute. Sports have to be live, and Optus just doesn’t have the ability to deliver it live as advertised.

“I have to just sit on my own watching the game with no mates and no social media — you can’t talk to anyone during the game. I’m extremely frustrated,” he said.

Of the complaint, an ACCC spokesperson told AdNews: “The ACCC has received a complaint regarding the nature of the Optus coverage of the English Premier League.

“The issue will be assessed to determine if the alleged conduct by Optus raises any concerns under misleading conduct provisions the Australian Consumer Law.”

This isn't the first time Optus has come under fire for its tech surrounding its EPL offering, with fans expressing their outrage over the quality of the coverage of the games.

Previous gripes included: Poor quality streams, delays behind the live game and coverage cutting out during play.

An Optus spokesperson told AdNews that the telco has received a range of feedback from customers, with social media being only one channel in which customers have expressed their views.

“Social media is a great tool for sharing experiences and expressing opinion, it's just one part of the full breadth of feedback that we have received from our customers. We have also received very positive feedback about the Yes TV service, the functionality of the Optus Sports App and our rich programming line-up.”

The streaming delay is caused by technology limitations of streaming data between devices via an ISP, and would occur if you watched cricket, baseball, NBA or any other live sport in this way.

It’s to do with the way data is transmitted, via IP packets in 10 second bursts that need to be encoded. To ensure a smooth transmission without bumpy buffering (the dreaded ring of death), there is a 30-50 second delay ahead of real time.

TV broadcasts via radio waves or cable have much smaller delays, up to about 10 seconds from live in-stadium action.

When addressing the technology concerns the spokesperson said: “Optus’ Premier League broadcast is delivered via the internet. Platforms that deliver ‘over-the-top’ video content via broadband and mobile networks need to be digitised to ensure quality and security. This adds additional time on top of the traditional terrestrial and satellite broadcast. This is consistent with the viewing experience on other web-based or App content services currently being offered by broadcasters in Australia.”

“Optus recognises that individual viewing experiences can vary, particularly over devices, browser interfaces and networks,” they added.

Optus picked up the EPL rights in a $180 million three-year deal from Foxtel at the tail end of 2015.

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