With thousands of fans from all over the world soon arriving in Manila to be a part of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 (FIBA World Cup), how will the global community stay connected? Will the sights and sounds of the tournament be available online, for all to see? Will basketball-crazed netizens be able to like and share as they please? In short, is the Philippines’ co-hosting of the FIBA World Cup ready, as far as connectivity is concerned?
Ruby Montoya, the Information Technology (IT) Head of the Philippines Local Organizing Committee (LOC) answered the last query with a resounding, “Yes! We are very much ready.”
“In partnership with our major providers, PLDT and Smart, we are fully committed to delivering a seamless and exceptional experience for all attendees. Our team has worked diligently to ensure that our network infrastructure is robust, reliable, and capable of handling the high volume of fans and spectators. We have undertaken thorough network design and redundancy measures to minimize the risk of any network failures. With multiple internet service providers, backup connectivity options, and continuous network monitoring, we are confident.”
The scope of connectivity that FIBA asked the LOC to provide is very broad and far-reaching. It includes fixed connectivity, wireless connectivity, augmenting the supply of IT equipment, and a mobile app for fan engagement, in collaboration with Infront, the marketing partner of FIBA.
The LOC IT group started preparations early. It set up a cross-functional team (CFT) with PLDT and Smart, including network planning and design, provisioning, an aftersales support team, and major technology partners. The CFT then coordinated with the different venues for detailed ocular inspections and testing to install WIFI infrastructure via robust and high capacity networks, enhanced cellular connectivity via temporary/mobile cell towers, and dedicated connectivity to allow the broadcast rights holder to stream games online and transmit footage in real time.
The CFT also constantly communicated with the different stakeholders to ensure that connectivity needs of the venues and spectators are met effectively.
“We conducted a thorough analysis of the expected number of attendees and their potential data usage to help determine the required network capacity anticipating demand for connectivity. We will also be deploying high capacity WIFI networks, with strategically-placed access points, to provide even coverage throughout the venues,” as per Montoya.
Of course, the proof is in the pudding, but Montoya explained that the LOC is ready to address any glitches that happen along the way. “There’s no such thing as 100% perfect. No matter how prepared we are, unexpected events can still occur. Our technical experts are well-prepared to promptly address any potential challenges that may arise.”
“All of the equipment for deployment has been tested and passed, courtesy of our Cyber Security Operations Group, and we have also put in place, in partnership with PLDT and Smart, a Command Center dedicated to real time network, security monitoring, and management.”
With these assurances, fans can rest assured that they will be connected, stay connected, and experience everything that the FIBA World Cup can offer, right at their fingertips.