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Chinese Olympics broadcaster slams London’s mobile broadband capabilities

Derek du Preez | Aug. 10, 2012
Tencent, an internet giant that has some 950 people working on providing London 2012 Olympics coverage online to hundreds of millions of viewers in China, has slammed the mobile broadband infrastructure in London, which it claims have hindered its ability to upload content on the fly.

With regard to Wi-Fi availability, BT is the main provider at the Olympic park and across London. It has installed a network that covers nine of the Olympic venues, including the stadium, the aquatics centre and the velodrome, and has completed work on 500,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the capital too.

Stephen Hartley, practice leader of telco strategy at analyst firm Ovum, told Computerworld UK that the UK is probably on a par with China when it comes to 3G speeds and coverage, but is falling behind with regards to readily available, free Wi-Fi.

"When it comes to China it really depends on where you are talking about. Is it better? Like anything with mobile, it depends on exactly where you are and how many people there are at the time. If everybody is trying to send something over 3G at the Olympic park then it could well be congested, although it's a Greenfield site so I wouldn't expect it to be bad," said Hartley.

"When talking about cellular networks, certainly when you compare the sorts of network performance from places such as Germany or Sweden, and you compare that with the UK, we haven't seen the same level of investment. They have much better performance, irrespective of 4G. With that increase in speed, comes a fatter pipe, so you get less congestion in the first place."

He added: "Compared to China, I would say that we are on a par with their 3G performance. However, if we are talking about Wi-Fi I would say they are better. In China they have fairly thorough, deep, free Wi-Fi networks running through the cities - something we don't have in the UK. Public access to freely available Wi-Fi just isn't something that you get."

 

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