Government Warns Of Olympic Internet Threat

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Government warns of slow Internet access: one more reason to be less excited by the London 2012 Olympics

The Olympics may slow down Internet speed and reduce the capacity available, as well as causing transport chaos, according to a Cabinet Office report published on the London 2012 website.

To deal with challenges during the Olympics, the guide suggests careful preparation and lots of working from home.

“What if your technology fails?”

According to the report, the biggest problems facing businesses in London during the Olympics are travel disruptions, and the associated staffing issues, along with slow Internet connection speeds which may be combined with possible data caps introduced by ISPs to deal with increased traffic. Mobile communications are likely to be disrupted, and freight and deliveries will be delayed. There are also safety and security issues, and the document even suggests possible interruptions in energy and water supplies.

Essentially, the report advises anyone who is able to work from home to do just that. It calls upon employers to “arrange for staff to work more flexibly during Games time”, and suggests several websites with related information.

However, working from home might turn out to be even less helpful than arriving at the office three hours late. The report sates: “In very severe cases there may be service drop outs due to an increased number of people accessing the Internet”. In addition, ISPs might introduce data caps during peak times, to try and spread the load and give everyone a chance to get online.

Although additional capacity and coverage for mobile phone networks is being put in place around Games venues, some networks might be slowed down during peak times. Voice, email and text messages are unlikely to be affected, so again, it’s your Internet connection that’s going to suffer most.

The guidelines advise businesses to work closely with their ISPs to make sure they stay online during the games. Businesses that provide data-intensive services might want to investigate how a data cap will influence their work, and arrange network upgrades to increase bandwidth. If a company is planning on encouraging homeworking during the Games, it should seek advice from its ISP on the measures it can take so the staff working from home is not left behind.

All communication methods will need to be reconsidered, and any kind of video streaming or video-conferencing is likely to be impossible during peak times this summer.

Getting there

Huge numbers of visitors and the introduction of Olympic and Paralympic Route Networks could potentially disrupt employees’ journeys, business travel, deliveries and collections. Three hundred firms across London have already signed up for sessions to advise their employees about travel. The London 2012 website now features a section about traveling as part of the campaign entitled “keep on running”.

Companies which depend on deliveries are to “consider options such as stockpiling goods, reducing the volume of deliveries to their premises, or arranging for deliveries at different times”.

The Olympic circus gets into town as early as 19 May, when the 70 day long Olympic torch relay starts. Olympic Games will run from 27 July to 12 August. Paralympic Games will run from 29 August to 9 September.

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