CAMBRIDGE, England, July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Ticket holders for the London 2012 Olympics will be accustomed to some unusual rules but may still be surprised to learn of one restriction, as the organisers have banned the use of personal Wi-Fi devices within the Olympic park. Broadbandgenie.co.uk asks whether this is justified or another example of LOCOG setting policies to benefit its corporate partners.
Security is naturally a major concern for the organisers of the London 2012 Olympics and it's no shock to see them going a little over the top in the name of safety but it is strange to discover "wireless access points and 3G hubs" on the prohibited list alongside firearms and toxic waste.
3G Wi-Fi dongles like the 3 MiFi provide mobile broadband access on the move but unlike USB dongles allow the connection to be shared with multiple devices over a short range wireless network, making them useful for families and those using tablets and iPads without built-in 3G support.
Smartphones can also provide a shared internet connection by enabling Wi-Fi tethering, and this too is prohibited at the Olympics: "smart devices such as Android phones, iPhone and tablets are permitted inside venues, but must not be used as wireless access points to connect multiple devices."
A spokesperson said "LOCOG has undertaken the full coordination and management of frequency channels which are used to support critical Games operations. A personal/private wireless device being used as a 3G hub may cause interference on these channels."
LOCOG was keen to point out that you are allowed to use Wi-Fi within the park, so long as it's through BT, an official partner. "To facilitate internet access, BT are offering a range of Wi-Fi services across London as well and in nine Olympic venues including the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre and Velodrome. Public Wi-Fi is also available in all public areas of the Olympic Park."
"The Olympic organisers have gone to extremes to protect the interests of commercial partners, it isn't a stretch to suggest this is being done largely so visitors will have to pay for BT Wi-Fi", says Broadband Genie editor Matt Powell. "It's an unusual restriction and something likely to surprise many people who face the permanent loss of their Wi-Fi dongles, which can cost upwards of £100 each."
BT Wi-Fi (previously called Openzone) is free for BT Internet customers and subscribers on some smartphone contracts but everyone else will have to buy vouchers which range from £5.99 for 90 minutes to £39 for 30 days access.
Anyone attending the Olympics may wish to make use of USB mobile broadband dongles to access the internet as a cheaper alternative to Wi-Fi. To assist visitors Broadband Genie has produced a guide to mobile broadband for those coming to the UK from abroad.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Broadband Genie is the UK's leading independent broadband, mobile broadband and smartphone comparison website, providing consumers with an unbiased source of information on prices and contracts and allowing them to compare providers in an independent environment. Broadband Genie was launched in March 2004 as the first dedicated consumer comparison site for broadband, while Mobile Broadband Genie was the first independent mobile broadband comparison site, launched in October 2007. The sites were combined in 2010, with the addition of smartphone comparison. The site is one of the most popular in its field, regularly featuring in the national press. http://www.broadbandgenie.co.uk
All queries and interview requests should be directed to Matt Powell at Broadband Genie, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Broadband Genie