Olympian event

13 Jun 2006
00:00

If there were one thing delegates learnt at the Broadband World Forum Asia last week, it was this: the next Olympics will be held in Beijing.

It could have been the billboard on the airport road, or the entire session devoted to the games, or any of the presentations from China Netcom or the Ministry of Information Industry.

Or maybe it was the backdrop sign in the main hall: "Broadband Olympics & Global Innovation".

In any case, we got the hint.

But what the slogan lacked in precision it made up for intent. It certainly sums up a lot of what is going on in this part of the world.

China is tracking in the path of Japan and South Korea, which both used the Olympics as a coming-out party and who also claim impressive records in both broadband and innovation.

"Innovation" is a buzzword that is possibly bigger in China than it is in the West, having been set down as one of the prime economic aims of the current five-year plan.

Specifically, the Beijing Olympics will be a platform to for several fresh technologies. TD-SCDMA, the mobile standard, will be in its early stages of commercial deployment by China Mobile.

The cellco giant will also carry multimedia clips of the games with the help of the new locally-raised mobile TV chip CMMB.

China Netcom will deliver video coverage of the sailing events using a locally-developed technology, McWill, based on SCDMA - apparently it propagates better along the winding river than Wimax.

SARFT, the broadcast regulator, has promised that those video signals will go over a new codec, known as AVS, which is only just trialing now.

An ambitious list, risky even. But there's no missing the intent.

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