Overview

Project Type:
Wi-Fi Service for Major Events
Project Timeframe:
Eight Weeks

Rain, planes and drains – nothing could hamper our delivery for the Women’s Open Tournament.

This was going to be a big challenge from the beginning. The brief was to supply reliable Wi-Fi service for players, management, broadcasting, international media and VIP’s present for the LPGA Women’s Open tournament at the Windross Farm golf course in Ardmore.

For those unfamiliar with the location; the course is positioned in a sparsely populated rural setting between Papakura and Clevedon. Certainly not well known for amazing internet, and definitely out of fibre reach!

The Planning

We knew we had to find a means of getting service here before we could plan anything further. The clubhouse runs off a 3G rural connection, and this simply wouldn’t be sufficient given the quantity of devices and the general cellular congestion that the thousands of event-goers would bring. Understandably, there was little interest from other service providers to tackle the challenge of this event; it was much too risky!

Having located the nearest “good” internet service a few kilometres away at the southern end of the Ardmore Airport, our focus was to linking this through to the event. We discussed our situation and potential solutions with the airport management, and they co-operatively agreed to assist.

Our plan involved dedicated VDSL2+ connections for each purpose (media, broadcasting, management, players/VIP), grouped together and shipped over four kilometres of wireless links to reach the event. Almost two kilometres of fibre and data cable was laid, hidden from the event in drainage and out-of-bounds areas. Nine wireless access points supplied end-users with service in official, player and VIP areas, along with the ticket/entry area and management centres.

Quality planning allowed time for successful Chorus provisioning at the Ardmore Airport ahead of the event. It also gave us time to complete security clearance and necessary site safety inductions for working around operational aircraft. Air Traffic Control tower access was permitted for the installation of transmitters, and we co-operated with the Airport Operations team for the supervision/runway escorts. We constructed our network over the course of a week and our service was ready ahead of schedule.

The Event

We allocate staff members to be present during any major event because situations change, and our presence provides a quick and adaptable response. At the beginning of this event our approach paid off – we worked alongside the event management and security team to ensure every technical challenge was addressed and this was a favourable approach, because situations and stress levels escalate quickly.

The event, itself, was not without a hitch. Rain, wind and lightning hampered tournament play and caused chaos for the event organisers over the final days. The tournament was expected to be halted but a last-minute decision was made to extend the event by an additional day to allow for play to be completed. For the event organisers, this was logistically challenging! Over a hundred golf-passionate volunteers from around the country were utilised throughout the main event, majority of whom were unable to remain. Vendors and event contractors were lining up to pack down; there was a lot of uncertainty as to how this would work. We knew the next day would be unique, so we arrived extra early.

For the first ten hours of the day we did golf. We cleared damage from the wind overnight. We drove the event vans and guided visitors. We carted players and caddies to and from holes and did anything that needed to be done – while the rain continued.

We did this because it was the right thing to do.

Then, at 3pm, when the event finished, we started our pack down.

The Experience

Not every project goes this way, but it’s great to know that our clients get looked after – we’ve got your back regardless of circumstance. It was exciting for us to be part of another major world-class event, and though this one was particularly challenging we’d happily answer the call to do it all over again.