LOCOG bans Wi-Fi hotspots at the Olympics

Recommends users pay for a BT hotspot instead

27 Jul 2012
LOCOG list of banned materials

The organisers of the London 2012 Olympics have officially banned wireless access points, adding devices like the Mi-Fi and smartphones with hotspot capabilities to a list of verboten materials including weapons, drugs and poisons.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games' (LOCOG) list of banned materials includes such obvious entries as drugs, toxic materials, pets, weapons, and "demonstration articles or items" - but an entry further down the list is a little more interesting: "Wireless access points, 3G hubs."

With most smartphones now doubling as personal Wi-Fi hotspots - taking a 3G mobile broadband signal and rebroadcasting it as a Wi-Fi signal for non-3G devices including tablets and laptops - that's a fairly broad spectrum of devices which LOCOG has just banned.

According to the official documentation listing of banned materials: "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 access points to connect multiple devices)." In short: you can keep your phone, but don't switch on the hotspot mode.

Attendees at the games won't be left disconnected completely: BT, as an official Olympic sponsor, is providing 1,500 Wi-Fi hotspots at the event - use of which is charged at an eye-watering £5.99 for 90 minutes or £9.99 per day. With no details about exactly why it has banned short-range personal hotspot devices, it's hard to see LOCOG's move as anything other than a profit-generating device.

A PDF of the full restricted items list is available from the official website.

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