Transmission problems return to World Cup
by John Parnell on Jun 17, 2010

Al Jazeera’s World Cup debacle continued with disruption affecting further matches in the tournament after a brief period without disruption.

Customers complained of poor image quality, signal loss and audio language selection problems, with the Brazil vs North Korea match badly affected.

Meanwhile has learned that Al Jazeera was evaluating a conditional access swap-out prior to the tournament with the intention of sending the “kill signal” on the first day of the event.

It is not entirely clear whether this process could have affected the Nilesat signal only and leave the Arabsat feed unblemished.

Al Jazeera has made no further comment since its accusations against satellite operator Nilesat.

Nilesat has also remained tight-lipped after angrily refuting accusations of wrongdoing from the Qatar state-backed broadcaster.

Earlier this year the Qatari government invested in a satellite in partnership with Eutelsat that will operate at 25.5 East, the neighbourhood that competes with Nilesat’s 7 degrees West hotspot.

Calls for refunds for Al Jazeera customers are also growing throughout the region with local papers quoting subscribers in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Gaza

Recipients of faulty or overpriced cards have been offered refunds in the UAE but as signal problems continue, calls for wider spread refunds related to the quality of service are likely to grow.

An official statement from E-vision obtained by regarding the initial loss of signal in the opening match, said that the company had arranged back-up from Arabsat and Nilesat to protect its customers.

“The 3D and HD signals were not affected on E-vision’s platform at all… As a consequence, E-Vision’s subscribers were not affected like the direct-to-home Nilesat customers and continued watching the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa by the second half.”