London Bans Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots From Olympics
Technology Editor, CNBC.com
The committee tasked with organizing the London Olympics is banning the use of personal wireless hotspots at the 2012 Olympic Games, adding to the number of items already prohibited such as bikes, excessive amounts of food and walkie talkies.
The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is restricting those attending the games from using their smartphone as a wireless hub.
According to the London 2012 website, "Personal / private wireless access points and 3G hubs (smart devices such as Android phones, iPhone and tablets are permitted inside venues, but must not be used as wireless points to connect multiple devices)."
It's not clear how exactly the LOCOG plans on regulating attendees from using their smartphone as a wireless hotspot, but one reason they may have implemented the ban is because when large crowds congregate in tight areas, it's likely wireless data connectivity will come to a halt.
It is worth noting, though, that British Telecommunications, one of the largest telecommunications services in the world, won a contract with Olympic organizers to be the "official communications services partner," and will have 1,550 access points installed throughout the Olympic venues.
However, visitors from outside the UK may have to pay for a connection to BT's hotspots.
Customers of BT's broadband service and customers of mobile carriers who have made prior arrangements with BT will receive free service, a spokesperson for BT said in a statement to CNBC. Those attending the games should contact their service provider to see if the provider has an agreement with BT.
But for those that do not qualify for free service, there will be pre-paid wi-fi vouchers available for attendees to buy online for access to BT's hotspots, both inside the Olympic Park and around the UK.
Prices for vouchers range from 90 minutes within 24 hours for a little over $7 to 4,000 minutes within 30 days for about $47.
The LOCOG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.