Orange finalizes the connection of the Olympic sites

Les Invalides will host road cycling, archery, athletics and road cycling events during the Olympic Games. In Paris, June 17, 2024. CHRISTOPHE ENA / AP

In Paris, between the Hôtel des Invalides and the Alexandre-III bridge, a ballet of construction equipment has replaced the usual flow of cars. Framed by two metal stands erected on the lawns, dozens of people are working to transform the esplanade into an Olympic site: from July 25, this majestic rectangle will host the five Olympic archery events, then the start of road cycling and finish of the marathon. Among them, several Orange technicians. “Premium” partner and official supplier of Paris 2024, the telecoms operator is responsible for connecting the one hundred and twenty Olympic and Paralympic sites as well as the athletes’ parade on the Seine for the opening ceremony on July 26.

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“We have been preparing for a long time but we have been struggling for a few weeks”, explains Jean-François Fallacher, general manager of Orange France, who came to see the progress of the construction site, with the press, on Tuesday June 18. Hundreds of meters of telecom cables still litter the floor of the upper stands. They should be gone in a few days and especially working when officials and journalists want to connect their equipment.

Without an Internet connection, no transfer of live results, no television broadcast and no link between the organizers. Orange and Samsung will distribute 13,000 terminals to officials and volunteers with whom they will be able to chat as a team or exchange images and data. “Our networks are the foundation of the Olympics”recognizes Mr. Fallacher.

Three 5G antennas

At Les Invalides, a site which is naturally not equipped like a stadium or a sports hall to accommodate this type of event and so many people (more than 8,000 spectators will take their seats in the stands), it was necessary to bring tons of equipment . Spread across the site, three 5G antennas will, during the Olympics, strengthen Orange’s mobile network so that the telecoms operator’s customers can use their phones in good conditions. After the games, all this equipment will be dismantled so that it can be reused elsewhere on other occasions. But across all of the one hundred and twenty Olympic sites, 70% of the network investments made by Orange will be maintained and used on site.

For this Olympic project, described as“Everest of telecoms” by Christel Heydemann, the general director of Orange, during the presentation, in October 2022, of the partnership with Paris 2024, the operator mobilized 1,000 full-time employees, including 475 who came as reinforcements from the provinces. “For Orange, it’s a source of pride”says Mr. Fallacher, convinced that the group, number one in telecoms in France and 23% owned by the State, could not miss such an event.

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