The Olympic Games kick off in London in just a few days, and while O2 and Virgin have covered the high and low ground throughout London, the organization behind the games doesn’t want any pesky hotspots infiltrating the stadium. The Olympic Committee has a long list of exactly what is prohibited from being taken into Olympic venues, and now that includes “wireless access points” and “3G hubs.”
Users will be able to bring in their iPhone or Android smartphone and use the 3G connection as they normally would, but apparently enabling hotspot functionality is a no-no: “Personal / private wireless access points and 3G hubs (smart devices such as Android phones, iPhone and tablets are permitted inside venues, but must not be used as wireless points to connect multiple devices).”
There are several explanations we can think of for the ban. Interference is the first and foremost: mobile networks are already going to be packed to the brim thanks to the sheer number of people descending on one location, so adding a couple of hundred (thousand?) hotspots into the mix probably won’t help the limited spectrum availability.
Still, GigaOm believes there may be some funny business going on, as BT is the official hotspot provider for Olympic venues, charging £5.99 for 90 minutes or £9.99 for 24 hours worth of access. Draw your own conclusions. If you and your friends happen to be in the area and ride the information superhighway tgoether, make sure to use an inauspicious hotspot name. Something along the lines of “This is definitely not a hotspot” should do the trick.