August 20, 2013

LIME leaves sour taste at games

Tue Aug 20, 2013

by Robertson Henry

Members of the organising committee of the 2013 Windward Islands Schools Games were on Saturday July 27, forced to forego what would have been a first for the Games.{{more}}

The live streaming of the opening ceremony, the athletics meet, and other components had to be cancelled because of the inadequate Internet upload speed from telecommunications provider LIME.

A fuming official of the Ministry of Education told this reporter that since the hosting of the 2013 Inter-Secondary School Games at the Arnos Vale Playing Field earlier this year, and its successful live streaming, talks have been ongoing between Ministry of Education officials and LIME, for the live streaming of various components of the Games.

According to the ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, an agreement with LIME had been reached in principle, and all that was needed, was for the 2013 Windward Islands Schools Games officials to provide LIME SVG with a letter outlining the various events and the locations, and other pieces of pertinent information.

According to the official, that information was submitted to LIME about two weeks before the commencement of the 2013 Windward Islands Schools Games, and a signed letter was dispatched soon after to LIME.

The ministry official said LIME responded, indicating that the necessary modems had been secured, and the lines for the streaming of the opening ceremony from the West St. Georges Secondary School would be installed.

Documentation shown to this reporter supports these statements.

After having received assurances that all was in place, when officials of the 2013 Windward Islands Schools Games attempted to commence testing of the line, they were left with mouths open in shock!

Data shown to this reporter revealed that the download speed was 7.84 Mbps, and the upload speed was 0.73 Mbps, whereas the minimum upload speed needed for a reasonable quality live streaming is 8 Mbps.

The only decision left was to cancel the live streaming, which also left other components of the media coverage undone. According to our source, no one from LIME contacted the 2013 Windward Islands Schools Games officials to offer an explanation.

The official said that on the morning of July 29, an official of the 2013 Windward Islands Schools Games Organising Committee went to the LIME offices to secure an explanation for the mishap the previous Saturday. In addition, the organizers had hoped to secure from LIME, assurances that all would be in place to stream live, the track and field competition later that day from the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

However, when 2013 Windward Islands Schools Games officials went to the Media Centre at the Arnos Vale, to commence preparation later that day, despite promises from LIME that all was in place, they were again left holding a defective product.

In the presence of this reporter, at 13:25 hours, a speed test was carried out after concerns were raised about the absence of Internet connections.

The test revealed the download speed was 8.54 Mbps, and the upload speed was 0.78 Mbps.

The live streaming therefore had to be shelved, along with other important aspects of the media coverage.

Via Facebook and other social media, persons in the region began asking questions as to why the promised live streaming of the Games never materialized.

When asked about the company failing to live up to expectations, one LIME official said “the company gave mobile phones to the members of the Organising Committee, with free calls to persons within that grouping.”

However, a source close to the Organising Committee said that many calls were made to persons and institutions outside that grouping, placing a financial burden on members of the Organising Committee to get the 2013 Windward Islands School Games properly organized.

No public apology was made, and instead, all the 2013 Windward Islands Schools Games received for the athletes were LIME packs comprising a water bottle and a rain poncho in a bag.

According to the Organising Committee official, the LIME packs are “reheated leftovers from Vincy Mas 2013.”

He further stated: “The most important aspect was never realized. The cost of those LIME packs vis-à-vis the value of live streaming and the Facebook pages updates to the athletes cannot be overlooked.”

One low level LIME official, however, did express his apologies for what hadtranspired.

Not being authorized to speak on the company’s behalf, the LIME SVG official requested anonymity when approached.

He, however, said that LIME has the technicians and infrastructure needed to provide the live streaming, but he does not know why a LIME technician was not present to test the upload speed, and verify its adequacy.

“I know that we have been told to do all that we can to protect the integrity of the company by ensuring all installations are working before vacating the premises or sites, so someone will have to give an explanation on that,” the very apologetic LIME SVG official stated.

“I am very sorry that there were no live streaming of the two events, and that you were unable to do the Facebook updates. I do hope that management will find the time and whatever else it takes to apologise for the company’s failure to provide for the live streaming.”

The LIME official was contacted after this reporter encountered difficulty securing an interview with either the country manager or the head of Marketing during the days following the Games.