Wi-Fi in Position for Cycling World Championships

Visitors to this week’s World Cycling Championships at the Manchester Velodrome will be able to access high-speed wireless internet access (Wi-Fi) through a special ‘Hot Zone’ covering the entire sporting arena. The Wi-Fi coverage, provided by On-Communications and BT Openzone, will enable allow the teams, their supporters and attending media to stay connected to email, the web, their company network, alongside gaming and VOIP applications from a growing number of Wi-Fi enabled devices.

The public Wi-Fi Hot Zone will provide venue-wide coverage across all public areas, conference and press rooms at the site. On-Communications will also provide separate private wireless VLANs (WVLANs) for the event’s organising teams from both the Manchester Velodrome and the British Cycling Federation.

Jarl Walsh, general manager, Manchester Velodrome commented: “In today’s information and on-line culture it is very important that the communication facilities at the Manchester Velodrome reflect the world class status of the venue and the sporting events we host. We need to provide for the needs of spectators, our organising team, the media, competitors, and corporate visitors. We also are very aware of how younger spectators and fans want ‘always on’ Internet access for their new WiFi handsets and gaming machines, so our new network gives supporters and their families a great new service to make the most of their visits to the arena.’’

All velodrome data and Wi-Fi traffic will be routed to the internet via On-Communications Fixed Wireless Access service. The guaranteed performance service features a ‘burst’ capability to provide extra bandwidth during peak periods at the end of heats and races as international journalists rush to file reports and photographs.

Peter Brown, head of IT at The British Cycling Federation added: “We are delighted that a single solution from On-Communications allows us to meet the differing needs of all our target audiences with a single system. What started as a relatively simple project ended up being quite sophisticated, and we are really pleased that we all managed to achieve our objectives. As tenants of The Manchester Velodrome we had our own wireless network in our office which we have been able to remove, and now enjoy private VLAN access across the entire arena.”

Chris Bruce, BT Openzone general manager said: “The Velodrome’s Wi-Fi installation is an important response to a key trend. There is growing customer expectation for remote internet connectivity within the leisure industry. The network will provide BT Openzone, BT FON, BT Office Anywhere and BT Fusion customers or casual users, with a convenient location to log in without wires.”

Ian Roberts, chief executive officer, On-Communications remarked: “On-Communications have delivered a solution combining FWA and WiFi technology to meet the challenge that spectators, competitors, their teams, and the world’s cycling media, can all keep a global audience up to speed with the thrills and spills of results on the track through our tried and tested systems.

British cyclists are amongst the best in the world at the moment and we wish the British team all the best in their search for a ‘gold medal’ performance in Manchester in March.”

The Manchester Velodrome is the National Cycling Centre, Britain’s primary indoor Olympic cycle track, a joint venture between Sport England and Manchester City Council. Regarded as one of the World’s finest and fastest board tracks, it is the third time that the venue has hosted the world’s biggest annual track cycling event. The UCI Track Cycling Championships take place from 26th to 30th March 2008. Cyclists from over 30 nations will compete for the coveted world champions’ rainbow jerseys.