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Both will play a key role in 2010

It will be the ultimate technology showcase and as the lead telecommunications vendor, an opportunity for Bell Canada to show the world the latest in communications and cabling innovation....

April 1, 2005  

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It will be the ultimate technology showcase and as the lead telecommunications vendor, an opportunity for Bell Canada to show the world the latest in communications and cabling innovation.

The telecom giant has paid $200 million to the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the right to be both Premier National Partner and the principal communications service provider for the 2010 Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games.

VANOC spokesperson Sam Corea said the deal includes $90 million worth of straight sponsorship and $60 million of VIK (value in kind) for the various technology services that will be needed.

In its technology bid book, a document that was submitted to the International Olympic Committee prior to Vancouver being named as the host city for 2010, VANOC talked about a major infrastructure expansion that will occur.

While a high-speed fiber optic ring as well as copper wire currently services the area between Vancouver and Whistler where many of the events will take place, it is anticipated that all traffic including broadcast and telephony will be funnelled down the fiber ring and that significant multiplexing of signals will take place, the bid book stated.

“A media centre and data/telecom centre will be co-located at Whistler (see photos below), in addition to smaller data/telecom centres at each specific venue locations. Both wireless and wired technologies will converge.

“Use will be made of surface laid fiber, coax, RJ-45 wiring, short range 800 MHz networking and IP broadcast, time division multiple access (TDMA) digital radio as well as piggybacking on the existing infrastructure on the mountains.

“The technology being proposed will incorporate near-surface fiber and wireless modems to reduce the impact on the environment, while providing the high level of telecommunications needed for the games’ operations.”

Justin Webb, vice president of technology for Bell in Western Canada, says that when there are literally “billions of eyeballs” watching the broadcast of the opening ceremonies across your infrastructure, you are going to want it to be rock solid.

Of note, is that both fiber and copper will play a critical role, as will an IP infrastructure that will be used for as many services as possible.

The cabling between the venues will be all fiber. At the venues, it is expected to be primarily Ethernet-based cabling.

“Clearly both are critical,” Webb says. “You need to bring the best of what you can be as a company forward to deliver what we call flawless Games.”

It ends up being a mixture of new and proven technology, he adds, a balancing act in which new advances are showcased along with products and services that are reliable, secure and have a proven track record in the marketplace.

An example of that is wireless technology, which will play a major role in 2010, but certainly will not dominate.

“At the end of the day, when you have 5,000 people in a broadcast centre, wireless cannot deliver the capacity in that type of venue,” says Webb. “We will have wireless coverage – from PCS to Wi-Fi – some of which, will be part of Games time operation, but the core delivery of voice, data, and Internet will be over physical fiber and copper.”

The 2010 Winter Games will combine a mix of new and proven technologies. A media centre and data/telecom centre will be located at Whistler. Cabling between venues will be all fiber.