Orange connects the 2020 Tour de France once again despite challenges of coronavirus
This year, due to COVID-19, the rollout of fibre and other technologies has been a colossal challenge in all walks of life, including sporting events.
For the Tour de France, it has forced changes to be made to the technical infrastructure that is required to connect the race across each stage of the competition – particularly as Le Tour is now working to a new schedule (29 August to 20 September).
Also, the complex mobile network fibre laying and expansion activities had to be completed in very tight time frames.
Tailored solutions will allow the race to be broadcast worldwide from the start and to ensure the competition runs smoothly each day.
During the three-week race covering 3,470km of roads, 76 Orange experts and technicians will join forces – sometimes in extreme conditions – to create a unique system, all in accordance with the health guidelines in force.
In addition to the network infrastructure, Orange has deployed a unique solution to remotely manage post-race press conferences this year. This solution uses Orange Fibre, which allows 4K UHD quality video conferences.
This system generates a speed of 30Mbps, linking the interview bus to the press room. This will allow the media to remotely interview the yellow jersey wearer and the day’s stage winner after the race from the press room.
Orange is utilising 12 tonnes of equipment, 250km of optical cable, 220km of optical fibre cables up to the finish line, 42 relays to reinforce 3G and 4G mobile network coverage, has deployed four PABX, three DSLAM and eight Wi-Fi networks at the end of each stage, and 290 temporary phone lines, all supported by 350 back office technicians.
This is providing more than 6,300 hours of broadcasting in 190 countries around the world, plus 1.4 million minutes of internet connections throughout the race.
The Tour de France remains a formidable means of developing local digital infrastructure. Over more than 21 years, the networks deployed for the Tour de France have enhanced the permanent coverage for towns and some unique locations around France. This year 23 sites will benefit from a permanent fibre installation (twice the 2019 figure), and 35 towns in which the Tour passes and 207 towns within 10km of the Tour will receive 4G mobile network coverage.
This year, Orange is part of a device donation charity initiative in partnership with Ecosystem. During the Tour, the NGO Ecosystem will be organising the collection, decontamination and recycling of electronic devices. Orange has already been involved in a mobile phone collection and recycling programme since 2005. It has joined forces with this charity initiative by donating 3500 Mobicartes across the 35 towns and villages of the race. They will be given to disadvantaged people with limited access to telecommunications.
The 2020 Tour de France continues until 20 September.