November 8 - The Sochi 2014 Winter Games will be the first Olympics and Paralympics in history to provide free Wi-Fi for the press, it was announced here today.
"Thanks to our partner Rostelecom we will offer for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games free-of-charge Wi-Fi for all accredited media," Dmitry Chernyshenko (pictured top), President and chief executive of Sochi 2014, told assembled journalists here at the World Press Briefing.
"This subject has been one of my most frequently asked questions, so now we have prepared for you a special offer."
Chernyshenko said that the Sochi Wi-Fi would be 10Mb in media areas, offering additional access to the Games Information System.
In comparison, the system at London 2012 was 8Mb, and that of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games was 2Mb - both of which had to be paid for.
"Sochi will offer a five times higher band width than Vancouver's paid solution," Chernyshenko said.
"This is progress.
"It's really something.
"It will be ideal for you to file your news stories."
Sochi will also offer individual paid-for broadband packages including cabling at a cheaper price than the two preceding Games – $128 (£80/€101).
The Vancouver package cost $554 (£347/€433), and London charged $150 (£94/€117).
"The cost at Sochi will be four times less than the same package in Vancouver," Chernyshenko explained.
Anthony Edgar, head of media operations for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), welcomed the provision of free Wi-Fi as "fantastic", but told the conference: "Don't think of Wi-Fi as being your solution, because if everyone does, it won't work."
Meanwhile, Chernyshenko described Sochi as "probably the biggest building site in the world," adding: "We are setting a new standard in environmentally friendly construction.
"We are going green, which is another legacy of our Olympic project.
"Sochi is also becoming a model city which the rest of country is following.
"The Olympic project has created 560,000 new jobs despite the economic downturn.
"Unemployment in the region is less than one per cent."
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