New Zealanders in rural regions have raised worries over watching the upcoming Rugby World Cup as the state introduces legislation to render the tournament available to supporters in the rugby-mad country as a last ditch effort. Telecommunications giant Spark, who will be playing live stream matches on a unique website, Spark Sport, has purchased privileges for the World Cup this year for a one-off fee of NZ$80. But tens of thousands of New Zealanders say they won’t be able to view the tournament owing to slow Internet rates in rural and distant regions and worry they’ll miss the event.
It is projected that around 40,000 homes will not have access to channels from the World Cup, with Spark stating that around 10 per cent of its clients will be unable to view live streams owing to bad internet access. Blair Mirfin is a farmer on the west shore of the South Island in the distant Grey Valley. The local rugby coach claims individuals are concerned over how they’ll be able to follow the game, and said that it’s unpractical and costly for many to head into pubs and restaurants.
A spokesman for Spark said public projects and investment would see 100% of New Zealanders able to access secure web by the end of 2020, and in the meantime introduced a free-to-air TVNZ agreement for the All Blacks pool matches to play with a one-hour delay, and the semi-final and final – if Steve Hansen’s side function – to air live and free.
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