Seven opts for Telstra fibre-optic deal for Olympics

The Seven Network has entrusted the delivery of the 2004 Olympic Games broadcast to Telstra, the telco announced today, with coverage set to be delivered via an international terrestrial fibre network for the first time in the network's summer Olympic broadcasting history.The 17 day event -- kicking off on 13 August 2004 -- will be broadcast to Australian viewers via fibre optic cable from Athens to Melbourne, according to Telstra.

The Seven Network has entrusted the delivery of the 2004 Olympic Games broadcast to Telstra, the telco announced today, with coverage set to be delivered via an international terrestrial fibre network for the first time in the network's summer Olympic broadcasting history.

The 17 day event -- kicking off on 13 August 2004 -- will be broadcast to Australian viewers via fibre optic cable from Athens to Melbourne, according to Telstra.

Telstra said the network will enable "end-to-end management for the duration of the Games from its Global Operations Centre in Melbourne".

Executive producer of Seven Networks Olympic Games, Andy Kay, said the fibre optic transmission network had proven to be successful in the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games and the Manchester Commonwealth Games.

"Our experience shows the Telstra solution is more cost effective than alternative transmission solutions, such as satellite, and is up to four times faster meaning less delay for any two-way crosses between Australia and Greece," said Kay.

The international fibre network will also be used for various other IP applications, according to Kay, "such as telephony and conferencing between Melbourne and Athens" and will be integrated into Seven's existing WideBand IP network.

Telstra global business managing director, Drew Kelton, said the system will deliver "guaranteed bandwidth" for the Seven Networks coverage and "ensure reliable broadcast of the world's largest sporting event".

"Telstra has a strong track record in delivering high quality telecommunications solutions for the broadcasting of large scale events, including the Sydney 2000 Olympics where we transmitted video signals from all games venues to rights-holding broadcasters," Mr Kelton said.

Telstra has also struck a deal with Greek telecommunication provider Panafon to deliver GPRS data network access to customers heading to Athens for the games.

According to the telco, customers with GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) enabled GSM handsets will be able roam onto the Panafon data network allowing them to send photos, pictures and emails over the network.

Telstra's mobile products manager, Greg Young, said the agreement will allow Telstra customers the flexibility of being connected to a wireless network while watching the games.

"This deal means our customers roaming in Greece can now use the mobile data applications they have on our GPRS network in Australia," Young said.

"For instance, visitors with MMS-capable mobile phones can send photos from on the spot at Games events, while those with BlackBerry hand-held wireless devices can check and send their e-mail while on the move."

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