Service members, retirees, family members and others authorized to shop in military exchanges will be able to watch NBC Olympics live streaming coverage of all competition for the 2016 Rio Games for free Aug. 3-21.

A partnership among Comcast NBCUniversal, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, and U.S. cable, satellite and telecommunications companies is offering access to 4,500 hours of coverage from NBC. This year 10,500 athletes from 206 countries will compete in 35 sports.

The free live streaming is available on computers or personal electronic devices to any authorized shopper, regardless of their branch of service.

Active-duty members and other authorized shoppers can visit NBCOlympics.com or the NBC Sports app, and choose the Exchange as their service provider. (AAFES refers to itself as the "Exchange.") Viewers must have an active "shopmyexchange.com" account to verify eligibility to watch the streaming, because of content rights restrictions. Those restrictions also will apply to some overseas locations. Outside of the AAFES option, prices would vary depending on the telecommunications provider.

Additional information is available at shopmyexchange.com. Event schedule information is available at NBCOlympics.com.

After Comcast NBCUniversal offered the service, a technical team figured out how to make it happen. representing a number of entities set to work to develop the technical solution required. "We’re excited to partner with Comcast NBCUniversal to deliver the Olympics to service members and their families, wherever they are called to serve," said Tom Shull, CEO of AAFES, in a statement announcing the coverage.

In addition to Comcast NBCUniversal, the team included Defense Media Activity, Defense Information Systems Agency, AAFES and DHI Telecom.(a provider of internet, mobile and internet protocol television.)

The opening ceremony will air Friday, Aug. 5, on NBC but competition begins two days earlier. The Games end on Sunday, Aug. 21.

"Few events unify the world like the Olympic Games, and it is only fitting that we make them accessible for those who chose to serve our country," said Carol Eggert, a retired Army brigadier general who is vice president of military and veteran affairs at Comcast, in a statement.

In addition to this live streaming, the American Forces Network will offer NBC Olympics' broadcast and cable coverage on its television services for overseas American military communities around the world.

Karen Jowers covers military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times. She can be reached at kjowers@militarytimes.com.