June 10 , 2014(ISN) – Organisers of the year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow have announced the cost of wi-fi and internet access for journalists has been cut by 50 per cent, while it is also offering free access to up to 200 of the most “financially in need accredited media organisations.”
In March Glasgow 2014 revealed that there would be a one-off £95 ($158/€115) charge for wi-fi and a £70 ($116/€85) charge for access to the MyGamesINFO service for journalists, while photographers would have to pay up to £265 ($440/€320).
That led to a chorus of criticism from the world’s media organisations, led by President of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) Gianni Merlo, who called on organisers to urgently “rethink” the decision.
It also emerged that Scotland’s Commonwealth Games and Sports Minister Shona Robison had promised Merlo the issue would be addressed following a conversation at the SportAccord International Convention in Belek, Turkey, in April.
It appears these concerns have been heeded following today’s announcement.
Charges for photographers and the MyGamesINFO service remain unchanged but the price of the standard wi-fi package has been halved to £47.50 ($79/€57.50).
Those media organisations that have already purchased accounts at the original price, meanwhile, will be refunded the difference by Glasgow 2014’s Rate Card team.
Each account will also be able to be used on two devices simultaneously.
In addition, Glasgow 2014 promised it will work with the Scottish Government and the Commonwealth Games Federation to decide in due course which of the most “financially in need” organisations will receive the free accounts for the Games, due to take place from July 23 to August 3.
“Our vision is to stage an outstanding athlete centred, sport focused Games that will be celebrated across the Commonwealth and generate enormous pride in Glasgow and Scotland,” said Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg.
“We welcomed the opportunity to work together with accredited media organisations to ensure the right provision for those covering the Games.
“Reduced wi-fi costs and a number of free accounts available to those media organisations in most financial need will benefit Glasgow 2014 and allow the story of the Games to be told more widely.
“Fast and reliable high-speed cable and wi-fi communications, together with full technical support for what will be the most comprehensive service provided at any Commonwealth Games to date, does have a cost, however, so some charges will remain.”
The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome will be one of 13 sporting venues that journalists will be reporting from at Glasgow 2014 ©AFP/Getty Images
Commenting on the new arrangement, Merlo said: “We are pleased that the initially proposed cost has now been halved.
“We believe this will be positive news for our members and will enhance what the media is able to offer when reporting the Games.”
While there was no charge at Delhi 2010 online access was patchy at best, while at Melbourne 2006 technology was not as advanced as now.
At London 2012, journalists had to pay for internet packages costing £90 ($143/€104) per month for bronze, £130 ($207/€150) for silver and £150 ($239/€173) for gold.
The Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games the first in history to provide complimentary internet access to all media and press while there is also a free service being provided at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil which gets underway later this week.
Nominations for free wi-fi accounts for Glasgow 2014 should be emailed firstname.lastname@example.org and must be received by June 23.
Those chosen to receive a free Wi-Fi account will be contacted directly by the Organising Committee and the Organising Committee will be responsible for issuing login details.