Spark says it's still trying to locate the cause of the latest Spark Sport glitch, which saw Formula One fans missing out on some of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix action in the early hours of this morning.

But the telco is playing down the issue.

"We had a minor issue last night with the pre-pre race programme. There was a playback issue that lasted 12 minutes before it was corrected. This was over an hour before the start of the race. The pre-race coverage and the race itself played out perfectly. We had around 12 events play out this weekend – 11 of which played out without issue."

Nevertheless, the pre-race glitch saw a number of subscribers vent online, or send angry emails to the Herald.


Subscriber Scott Moyse was one of those who took to social media to complain, posting: "New Zealand @F1 fans being let down again by shoddy quality feed from @sparknzsport... The entire life feed is down. It's telling me that the channel is unavailable."

Last week Spark blamed recent problems with an Australia-NZ hockey match and the Bahrain Grand Prix on human error.

Separately, Spark's broadband network was hit by a DNS (domain name server) issue yesterday afternoon and evening, which saw websites loading slowly or not at all for some customers, at times.

Households affected included that of Telecommunications Users Association of NZ (Tuanz) head Craig Young.

During an extended Geekzone discussion on the problem, one veteran member who lists themselves as working for Spark posted, "FYI, as part of the RWC capacity build we are replacing our DNS infrastructure with a more distributed platform, more capacity and using some new functions to support better CDN [content delivery network] balancing. The current system will be retired shortly."

While it's sensible for Spark to beef up its content delivery network ahead of the World Cup, having such a major infrastructure project apparently still underway just 144 days from kick off is cutting it fine.

"The importance of a seamless experience over the time of the Rugby World Cup later this year cannot be underestimated and given the recent problems experienced by users of the Spark Sport platform, we hope that Spark have no other significant system upgrades planned close to the event," Young says.

"The success (or otherwise) of streaming of NZ's premier sporting event will set user expectations for the foreseeable future."


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Spark has been approached for comment on last night's Grand Prix issues.

One the DNS problem, a spokeswoman said, "We had an issue with one of our DNS servers yesterday – as only one server was impacted, some customers would have had trouble connecting to a website on an initial attempt, but would have reconnected on a second or third attempt.

"That comment on Geekzone is a bit misleading.There was no connection between the issue yesterday and the work we are undertaking in preparation for the RWC."