Minsk 2019 are set to provide free wifi at the European Games ©Minsk 2019

Free internet access is set to be provided at the Minsk 2019 European Games, it has been announced.

According to the Belarusian Telegraph Agency, the country's Communications and Information Minister Sergei Popkov confirmed free wifi would be installed. 

The wifi is expected to be made available at venues, hotels and the Athletes' Village during the duration of the Games.

In September, Minsk 2019 chief executive Georgy Katulin stated that the European Olympic Committees had expressed minor concerns with the Athletes' Village, and insisted wifi should cover the largest area possible.

It is claimed that upgrades are set to be made to ensure there is improved 3G and 4G coverage in the Belarus capital city during the Games.

Further efforts are reportedly being made to fend off the threat of cyber attacks on systems at the multi-sport event.

Pyeongchang 2018 were hit by a cyber attack during the Winter Olympics earlier this year, while 2018 Asian Games organisers Jakarta and Palembang have expressed concerns about suffering a similar disturbance.

At last month's Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, officials stated they had communicated with other major event hosts to develop their systems to prepare themselves for a possible cyber attack.

Minsk 2019 appear set to follow the same progress, with specialists hired to study and learn from Pyeongchang 2018 and the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The EOC are believed to have pushed for better wifi access in athlete accommodation ©Minsk 2019
The EOC are believed to have pushed for better wifi access in athlete accommodation ©Minsk 2019

"These are very serious preparation tasks," said Popkov, according to the Belarusian Telegraph Agency.

"Apart from ensuring the ability to communicate we have to take care of security and cyber security."

It is claimed that around 4,000 athletes and 2,000 coaches will attend next year's Games from the 50 European National Olympic Committees.

Organisers are also reportedly expecting more than 1,000 judges and a similar number of media for the event, which will run from June 21 to 30.

There remain concerns over Belarus' human rights record and press freedoms in the build-up to the Games.

The regime led by President Alexander Lukashenko has been accused of persecuting against non-Governmental organisations, independent journalists, national minorities and opposition politicians.

Belarus ranks at 155th in the world for press freedoms, with only 25 other nations having a lower rating.

It was claimed by Reporters Without Borders that in 2017 the "harassment of freelance journalists working for independent media outlets based abroad, who cannot get accreditation, has reached unprecedented levels".

The organisation claimed that the "blocking of the country's leading news website indicates internet censorship has reached a new level".

When they awarded the Games to Minsk in 2016, the European Olympic Committees claimed an important aspect was to "make sure international media have free access to report on the Games preparation and to attend and report on the Games themselves".