Orange to provide private 5G, push-to-talk for Paris Olympics transmission

By NewscastStudio

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Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) has selected French telecom company Orange as the sole service provider for live coverage of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This partnership will see Orange transmit one of the world’s most-watched sporting events to an estimated 4 billion viewers globally.

The International Broadcast Center (IBC) at Le Bourget will serve as the operations hub, with Orange connecting it to 35 competition venues across France and Tahiti.

“We’ll be delivering all the action from the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games from each of the venues, whether in Paris, Marseille, Lille, Nantes, Bordeaux… or even Tahiti,” said Pierre-Louis de Guillebon, CEO of Orange Events.

Network resilience is Orange’s primary focus.

“We have to anticipate all scenarios, from fiber outages to attacks or climate crises,” noted de Guillebon.

The scale of the operation is unprecedented in Olympic history. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies alone will employ nearly 500 cameras, a significant increase from the usual 60. Innovative camera placements, such as those on athletes’ equipment for kite surfing events in Marseille, promise to deliver immersive footage.

Orange is deploying new technologies to meet the Games’ technical demands.

A private 5G network will serve key venues, enabling the transmission of feeds from numerous cameras without impacting the public network. The company has also developed a “push-to-talk” communication function using a priority 4G network, effectively turning mobile phones into enhanced walkie-talkies with messaging and video capabilities.

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The company plans to use Samsung S24 smartphones as cameras to record footage from boats during the opening ceremony on July 26. This setup will utilize a standalone 5G network built along a 6-kilometer stretch of the Seine River.

Orange’s chief marketing and innovation officer for events, Bertrand Rojat, stated that traditional broadcast systems would be impractical for capturing footage from moving boats. The private network will also be deployed at several Olympic venues, including Stade de France and Arena Bercy.

Unlike its public 5G network, which uses equipment from Ericsson and Nokia, Orange has selected Cisco to provide both core and radio access network gear for the private Olympic system. The network employs Intel chips and operates on separate frequencies from the public infrastructure.

Approximately 1,000 Orange employees will support the event. 

“In an increasingly complicated world, it is an honor to contribute to the world’s most iconic sporting event, which is an invitation to and celebration of top-level performance. It requires us to stay focused and humble to the end,” said de Guillebon.

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