22 May 2014

World Cup stadiums may not have Wi-Fi

6:57 am on 22 May 2014

At least two of Brazil's 12 football World Cup host stadiums will not be able to provide fans the mobile phone and internet coverage that organisers had promised, telecommunication companies have revealed.

The executive director of the industry's umbrella group, Sinditelebrasil, told senate committee hearings that "there will be some problems" finishing communications infrastructure for Sao Paulo's Corinthians Arena, which will host the opening match on June 12, and Curitiba's Baixada Arena, which will host four matches.

Sinditelebrasil's Eduardo Levy says they received the projects and the rooms where the equipment is supposed to be installed less than 60 days in advance, when they need 120 to 150 days to carry out the work.

The chief of telecoms firm Vivo, Antonio Carlos Valente, told senators the stadiums in Manaus and Porto Alegre could also face communications problems because of delays finishing temporary structures to house transmission equipment.

The Brazilian Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo says organisers should have invested more in Wi-Fi networks to back up mobile-phone communications.

He says he could not force private stadium administrators to install telecoms equipment, and that the government was in the process of fulfilling its only communications obligation - to lay fibre-optic cable for TV broadcasts.