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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

NCAA / iPhone Hot Spot
Dean Legge, Photographer
Athens | GA | USA | Posted: 12:40 PM on 03.18.15
->> I can assure you that I won't be paying $200 for an internet connection this weekend in Charlotte.

My question is if the NCAA will block or try to block my hotspot on my phone. I'm not sure how they could do it, but I've not shot the NCAAs since 2013, and I know how much they like to stomp on a good time.
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Doug Strickland, Photographer
Chattanooga | TN | USA | Posted: 1:10 PM on 03.18.15
->> They claim that wireless for television news won't be allowed, but I'm not sure if that'll include WiFi hotspots. I'm bringing one just in case. I'm not sure how it is in Charlotte, but in Knoxville they say they'll have "complimentary" wifi available with access codes posted in workrooms. Since this is the NCAA I wouldn't assume anything-I'm going to do everything I can to cover all my bases.
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Jim Pierce, Photographer
Waltham | MA | USA | Posted: 1:59 PM on 03.18.15
->> I just left the Energy center in Pittsburg and the wifi password was posted. I am not sure if it was free or not as I wss able to use phone's hot spot today so I am assuming it will tomorrow. but when you see signs "Only NCAA cups allowed beyond this point" I guess you never know.

Jim
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Bob Ford, Photographer
Lehighton | Pa | USA | Posted: 2:21 PM on 03.18.15
->> In the past, arenas that normally offered the media free wifi or wired internet throughout the year have turned it off during the NCAA tournament.
Your cellphones hot-spot will most likely be useless. When you get 15,000 people all in one spot, all with smartphone, all wanting to tag themselves in selfies, your service bars will drop quickly.
If you don't feel like ponying up the money to the NCAA for a connection, your next best bet will probably be driving a few miles away to a Starbucks or McDonalds.
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Eugene P. Tanner, Photographer, Photo Editor
Honolulu | HI | USA | Posted: 4:18 PM on 03.18.15
->> Back when I was a photo editor with The Register, I used to partner with KRT news service and split the cost of internet access when covering the NCAA Hoops tournament. I would suggest some of the photographers that know they will be covering most or all of the tournament share a hardline and just bring a router so everyone splitting the cost can connect in...
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 4:23 PM on 03.18.15
->> Bob I don't know about the NCAA tournament going on right now. Over the last year or so, what I HAVE been seeing are mobile cell trailers and/or additional bandwidth opening up at crowded sporting events. I have been able to use my personal hot-spot for Stanley Cup games and NFL games, as well as assorted college games.

The FCC action against Marriott puts any entity that would actively block or interfere with mobile hot spots on notice too.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 5:12 PM on 03.18.15
->> I've had varying success using hotspots/mifi's during the ncaa's. depending where the media area is you might not get a signal. often they work during practice day but when 20,000 smart phones are eating the bandwidth during the game you're taking a chance on not moving any photos. it has been my experience over the last few years that the NCAA commandeers the local wifi network so they can charge the media. last year we were in our HOME arena where we cover the whole season of n.c. state basketball AND the NHL carolina hurricanes and the local wifi we use every time we're there was disabled and we had to pay. like the ncaa needs the money....
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Kenya Allen, Photographer
Columbia | MD | US | Posted: 4:51 PM on 03.19.15
->> So far so good at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Free wi-fi in the media room, although the media packet says it can't be used by photographers, video techs and TV media to transmit. The packet says that there are hard-wired lines available in the photo work room, but I haven't been over there yet (going over to get armband in a few minutes).
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 10:25 PM on 03.19.15
->> And a sidebar - if any of you folks covering games in Pittsburgh have a desire to lift one after work over the weekend, I'll buy a round. I'm a fan of being locally hospitable. You can text me via the phone on my member page.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 10:13 AM on 03.20.15
->> Hard lines in Charlotte are $200 for photographers. A rip off to be sure. Since the lines are already there and FREE for use during other events. I guess since the TV contract only pays the NCAA over ONE BILLION DOLLARS a year they need to get that $200 by screwing over still photographers. There are several organizations in Charlotte who have just said "screw it" and are using mobile hot spots and wifi's. Fingers crossed it works as well during the games as it did for practice.
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Sam Morris, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 4:06 AM on 03.23.15
->> Did it Chuck? A few years ago, even though I had the paper purchase a hard line, I tried my air card and it wouldn't work - the signal did seem to be blocked.
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Dean Legge, Photographer
Athens | GA | USA | Posted: 9:26 AM on 03.23.15
->> Sam - I didn't have a problem using my hot spot, but at Time Warner in Charlotte they never seemed to shut off the wireless signal where I was at. It wasn't supper fast, but it worked fine for me.

To be clear: I was uploading videos as well as photos and other content.
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Michael Okoniewski, Photographer
Syracuse | NY | USA | Posted: 11:52 PM on 03.30.15
->> SI's Al Tielemans used his cell phone hotspot at the Carrier Dome during the NCAA East Regionals this weekend in Syracuse. The Dome's IT guy found out and had a fit and wanted Al removed from the arena, as per the NCAA credential agreement. I witnessed the IT guy's meltdown and subsequent calming down by superiors. All stayed and shot the event.

Afterwards, although I can not confirm, it seems his $200 ethernet line was not working.
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 2:23 AM on 03.31.15
->> I'm sure blocking cell phone hot spots is some violation of an FCC rule... I'd say to hell with them and their $200 fee.

This weekend at Bankers Life in Indy for the High School State finals I couldn't get a good connection for the life of me. Only 4G signal in press room, and when I tried to use house wi-fi I would eventually stall when uploading. I tried PhotoMechanic, FileZilla and a couple other programs with all the same result. I guess if I really wanted to I could had walked back to the court where I had an 4G-LTE Signal, but I just emailed the photos to a fellow freelancer and he uploaded them with no problems. The connection started out at 500k/sec and eventually dropped to 2k/sec. I would think there aren't any more writers/photographers at a state final then there would be a Pacers game, but the FTP was just being crap this weekend.
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Doug Strickland, Photographer
Chattanooga | TN | USA | Posted: 11:30 AM on 03.31.15
->> I've heard of high schools using tech to block cell signals (there are a few here where I haven't been able to use a hotspot in the gym) to keep students off their phones, so I don't see why the NCAA couldn't do it too. It's never been completely clear if that's why there is no signal in the gyms or if it's just a bad reception area, though.
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 3:12 PM on 03.31.15
->> OK, I guess as long as it affected only that sporting arena it would be fine. But could you imagine fan reactions to not being able to use their cell phones???? And if I couldn't take my laptop out on the floor, I'd just find an FTP program for my phone and head out somewhere where I had a signal and transmit. Only the second of games did I have even a slight feeling of being tight on deadlines. But it all depends on who you are shooting for and 1,000 other variables.

But you are correct, I didn't think about the fact that a private location can, if they want, block signals. I just don't see Lucas doing that, unless the NCAA brings their own equipment. At that point, I'd walk outside!
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Michael Okoniewski, Photographer
Syracuse | NY | USA | Posted: 9:44 AM on 04.01.15
->> Doug-

High School Championship events usually have their bandwidth gobbled up by folks live-streaming the meet. I've talked with school IT people at several events about it. To accommodate everyone would mean an upgrade for the schools as far as internet access goes. This is often very low in their budget priorities. The Carrier Dome became it's own cell site with an expensive upgrade to accommodate the fans during events. That still did not exclude the NCAA from imposing their own restrictions with the $200 line charge aimed squarely at photographers with high bandwidth demands.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 3:14 PM on 04.01.15
->> Doug it is a violation of federal law to transmit a signal solely for the purpose of interfering with a legal use of radio spectrum. That's not to say the school can't be built in such a way as to passively block signals but the key there being passively. You can not simply run a transmitter that is only being used to interfere with cell signals. I have a few schools where I can't get a cell signal. But I just have to look around to know I'm standing in the middle of a Faraday cage.

Even valid licensed transmitters that cause interference have to be brought into compliance so as to minimize interference.

http://www.fcc.gov/document/marriott-pay-600k-resolve-wifi-blocking-investi...


Full disclosure: I am a ham in more ways than one.
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Thread Title: NCAA / iPhone Hot Spot
Thread Started By: Dean Legge
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