London prepares for spike in Wi-Fi demand during 2012 Olympics

By Sooraj Shah
24 Jan 2012 View Comments
London Olympics Stadium

There will be "record demand" for wireless technologies at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to communications regulator Ofcom.

Ofcom says there will be a need to assign up to 20,000 wireless frequencies for the Games in London, which is more than double the number usually assigned in a year.

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Significant extra demand will come from media companies covering the events and companies that provide support services, as well as from spectators.

The regulator says it has been working on a plan to ensure the UK can face this challenge by securing additional capacity.

It will do this by borrowing spectrum on a short-term basis from public sector bodies; by making use of unused frequencies such as the spectrum for 4G technology that is due to be auctioned by Ofcom but is currently not being used; by making use of spectrum freed up by the switchover from analogue to digital TV; and by using spectrum that is available without the need for a licence.

Ofcom said it has built a "state-of-the-art" spectrum assignment system that can filter access to the spectrum. To identify any interference issues before they arise, a modern sensor network has also been built across England, and if any interference does occur, Ofcom will deploy a team of radio engineers to tackle it.

"The UK's airwaves are already among the most intensively used in the world, and the London 2012 Games will significantly increase demand," said Ofcom's chief operating officer, Jill Ainscough.

"Ofcom recognises there is no room for complacency. We are working behind the scenes to make this capacity available and ensure demand is met," she added.

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