Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Before the kickoff: of balls, broadband and Brazil

In a few days, it will be the kickoff of the FIFA Soccer World Cup in Brazil. Across all football-loving countries, the fever is mounting. Fan frenzy is getting crazy, way before the kickoff.
Are we ready?
We ask that question right until the opening ceremony. Anything can go wrong. We inspect infrastructure: stadia, hotel capacity, roads, airports, etc. We double-check lists: team lists, team staff lists, stadium staff lists, list of officials, etc. We check prices: tickets for matches, flight tickets, hotel costs, local transport, etc. We check for security, return on investment, fan satisfaction, tourism gains. We monitor..
Unknown to many soccer fans, Brazil hosted a 2-day Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance in April.. Don’t bother making up the acronym from the initial letters. The country decided to align the meeting to the “prevailing mood” and named it “Net Mundial”. In other words the Internet equivalent of the “Mundial”. In hosting NetMundial, Brazil was contributing to the global Net game. Making it faster and better.
Sold out
If you were planning to be part of the FIFA World Cup and are yet to get a ticket by the time this post is published, then it might be too late. Tickets are all almost sold out. World Cup match tickets are not “there for the asking”. There is a limited number of them. In the world of the Internet, they are called “Critical Resources”. These are resources that everyone needs and wants to have, but only a few possess. Access to the Internet at an affordable rate is one of those! Two-third’s of the world population are still dreaming of affordable access to the Internet.
Balls and broadband
There will be great Brazil 2014 memorabilia. Some may want to get a shot at the jerseys of famous players. Others may want a photo opportunity with a star. Brazuca, the official ball, will certainly be in high demand. Whichever way, Internet connection will be in higher demand than all of these. Internet service providers in Brazil are already rolling out “World Cup” packages. These tend to give unlimited Internet Connection for less than 1$ per day. Can the offers hold through the games? Will they continue after the games?
The World Cup and the World Wide Web
Did you know? It will almost be impossible for anybody to get a ticket to any of the World Cup matches without logging on to the FIFA website. Almost all tickets are applied for and sold online. Collection is the only thing you do offline. Without necessarily blowing its trumpets, FIFA may well become the largest organization that uses the Internet and inspires its use. Without doubt, the World Cup will be more enjoyable to those who have broadband Internet connection. In these days of:
Live tweeting;
Parallel online World Cup Matches for fans;
Match streaming on mobiles:
Balls must meet broadband. Brazil must raise the game. FIFA must pay attention to affordable Internet and fans must claim their rights as web citizens!

Game on!