BRASILIA: Good news from Brazil for the international media: FIFA is optimistic that the relevant stadia will be ready just about in time for this year’s Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup . . . and the local organisers are promising “exemplary” telecommunications writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Certainly FIFA has had to put back the stadia delivery deadlines not once but at least twice or three times in some cases but it does appear that secretary-general Jerome Valcke’s outburst this time last year had the desired effect.

Mascot with a message to transmit around the world

Valcke had suggested that the Brazilians needed a “kick up the backside” and, whether by coincidence or not, the pace of progress since then has accelerated notably.

One of the latest steps forward has been signalled by a Memorandum of Understanding between FIFA and the Communications Ministry which should reassure the foreign media after some of the earlier concerns about faciities this year and next.

Legacy bonus

“Without telecommunications there is no World Cup,” acknowledged Valcke as he and Minister Paulo Bernardo signed up to the latest commitment which had taken 18 months of negotiation.

Bernardo considered that “without good communication it’d be as though the World Cup did not exist.”

The deal confirms that facilities remaindered after the finals will be the responsibility of government and thus can serve as a World Cup legacy.

The Minister clarified that starting in April, 4G technology will be operational in this year’s six Confederations Cup host cities:  Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador and Belo Horizonte (June 15 to 30).

Telebras is the governmental arm implementing the essential infrastructure for the optical fibre networks in the 12 World Cup host cities, with a budget of R$200m (US$101m).

The optical fibre network is already in place in the metropolitan regions of Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Salvador, and the others are expected to be completed by March.

As with the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, internet access will be free to the media in press centres and venues.

The downside of FIFA’s enlightened attitude is that such a facility ensures massive usage – hence the importance of the agreement with the Brazilian government well in advance of kickoff.

Terms of the MoU

Responsibilities of the Federal Government (Ministry of Communications, through Telebras):

— Ensure that there is national backbone infrastructure available, as well as the necessary metropolitan networks for interconnecting stadiums and other places established by FIFA and the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), in addition to video transport services, with no cost to FIFA and its partners;

— Ensure that the infrastructure is able to supply for the quality technical requirements established by FIFA, above all in relation to the 99.99% availability required for networks that will transport the matches’ video broadcasting service;

— Implement interconnection between Telebras’ network and networks belonging to IT and Media service renderers hired by FIFA;

— Ensure that there is IT infrastructure and solutions (voice and broadband) available in places/venues where IT and Media services renderers have been hired by FIFA, where such infrastructure does not meet required quality standards. This lack of infrastructure shall have to be proved by FIFA through technical reports;

Responsibilities of FIFA:

— Reduce the burden on the Federal Government in relation to making infrastructure available in places/venues where IT and Media services have infrastructure that meets required quality standards;

— Purchase and implement Video and Adaptation Technology (VandA), as well as incurring related costs;

— Implement satellite back-up solution and incur all costs;

— Pay Telebras 50pc of revenues received from the sales of video services provided by the VandA system.

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