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Telstra to provide Wi-Fi for ANZ stadium

High-speed Wi-Fi access will be in place at ANZ Stadium in time for the start of the 2014 NRL season, thanks to Telstra and Cisco.

Telstra has committed to supplying high-speed Wi-Fi access at ANZ Stadium for the next five years.

ANZ Stadium (Screenshot by Nic Healey/CNET Australia)

The carrier will partner with Cisco for the necessary infrastructure required to deliver the wireless connectivity. The Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi solution has been previously deployed in sports venues around the world, including the US, Canada and Europe.

As anyone who's tried to use Twitter or Facebook from a Grand Final game knows, big sporting events mean jammed mobile networks. Telstra's Wi-Fi offering aims to provide a framework where attendees can get better and more reliable access to the internet from their mobile devices.

The solution will also allow the stadium to provide IPTV and other content for fans, making for an enhanced viewing experience for spectators.

In a media statement, Daryl Kerry, managing director of ANZ Stadium, said:

We’re excited to provide a multitude of media delivery options and ways for our fans to get the most out of the events at the stadium. The first stage of the roll-out will connect sponsor content to Wi-Fi devices throughout the stadium, allowing information, announcements and video content to be displayed to fans.

The announcement comes on the back of similar deals done with the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and Allianz Stadium at the end of September.

At the time, SCG Trust chief executive Jamie Barkley noted that he saw the Wi-Fi infrastructure as being able to provide a more streamlined experience for attendees — not only for watching the game, but even for ticketing and refreshments.

"We want fans able to watch replays, view HD footage and engage in all forms of social media while having the luxury of ordering food, drinks and merchandise from the comfort of their seat," he said.

ANZ Stadium general manager of Event and Business Development Greg Sleigh also sees the network as having benefits beyond content:

Wi-Fi network is just one part of the stadium’s plan to use technology to extend exclusive privileges to fans who attend games and to make their day run smoother. In the future, we will be able to deliver traffic and transport tips customised to fans’ needs, and when they arrive at the ground, they can be rewarded for choosing to attend the game.

The SCG will have the network active in some areas by 3 January 2014, while ANZ Stadium is expected to be ready for the start of the 2014 NRL season.