Bell Olympics Telecommunications: The Numbers Game

by Jordan Richardson on March 2, 2010

With the Olympics over and Canada’s athletes having given the country a record-breaking performance, it’s time to evaluate how the Olympic telecommunications numbers delivered and how many records were broken through their performances.

Bell Canada set up the telecommunications network that would deliver the Olympics in Vancouver to millions. It designed the first Olympic network that would use VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), too.

Bell has a lot to be proud of in terms of its delivery of the events in Vancouver. With billions of people watching around the world, Bell brought the 17-day Olympics to an audience that was much larger than expected. In delivering over 24,000 hours of broadcasting to viewers around the world, Bell managed to set Olympic history.

The International Olympic Committee is reporting that the number of total viewers was some 50% higher than the Torino Olympics in 2006 and even saw a 25% increase from the 2008 summer events in Beijing.

In using 300 kilometres of cable to connect Vancouver and Whistler’s 130 Olympic venues and support sites, Bell Canada certainly had its work cut out for it. At the end of it all, after the dust settled and the crowds headed home from Robson Street, Bell’s feat looks pretty remarkable.

Bell’s networks handled over 750,000 calls from 6,000 landline VOIP phones, for instance. And a whopping 90 million minutes of mobile traffic were consumed on Bell’s networks.

Through it all, it is estimated that one trillion packets of data took rides across Bell Canada’s Vancouver network.

With these substantial numbers and Bell’s adept handling of it all, the company has to be beaming with pride. There were no major network outages throughout the events and they managed to be the first telecommunications partner to deliver both wireless and landline connectivity to the Olympics.

It’s hard to imagine the sheer scope of these Olympics in Vancouver and how many support and tech workers it took to keep the whole thing going, but Bell does seem to have pulled it off successfully. International reviews of the events themselves may have been regrettably “mixed,” but it’s hard to find anything amiss in terns of Bell’s handling of the 2010 Olympics.

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