AFL looks to offer NBN services at football matches

If the Australian Labor government is re-elected, the Australian Football League will look to provide Wi-Fi to fans at matches using the National Broadband Network.

As part of a re-election push, Communications Minister Anthony Albanese has promised to fast-track the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) to Etihad Stadium in Melbourne as part of a trial for the Australian Football League (AFL) to deploy Wi-Fi hotspots to fans at football matches.

As well as Etihad Stadium, Albanese announced on Saturday that if the Labor Party is re-elected on September 7, the AFL's Docklands headquarters would also be hooked up to the NBN with a trial of NBN Co's 1Gbps down, 1Gbps up enterprise-grade broadband product ahead of a planned commercial release in 2015.

At the stadium, the AFL has said it will deploy Wi-Fi hotspots for fans as part of a pilot project before looking to roll out Wi-Fi to all major AFL venues across Australia.

It is unclear whether the AFL is becoming a retail service provider (RSP) directly accessing services from NBN Co, or whether the AFL will sign up with an existing RSP such as Telstra, Optus, or iiNet. A spokesperson for Albanese told ZDNet that it was too early to say, and said that the AFL would work out the details of its Wi-Fi product.

ZDNet approached the AFL for a comment, but no response had been received at the time of writing.

The move for the AFL to become an RSP would not be unexpected, however, with the AFL increasingly looking at how it can directly reach fans. It has already begun mobile broadcasting through a Telstra AFL app, and employing journalists to directly report on AFL news to the fans.

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