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Internet services could drop out during the Olympics

Kathleen Hall

Businesses planning to use home-working policies so staff can avoid transport chaos during the London Olympics are being warned that internet services could drop out during the Games.

The warning, in the Cabinet Office's official advice,Preparing your Business for the Games, said: “It is possible that internet services may be slower during the Games or in very severe cases there may be drop-outs due to an increased number of people accessing the internet.”

In addition, the document warns that ISPs may introduce data caps during peak times to try and spread the load and give a more equal service to their entire customer base. However, this has not yet been confirmed by ISPs and the Cabinet Office said it hopes to have more information nearer to the time, according to the document.

The government said additional capacity and coverage for mobile phone networks is being put in around Games venues to take the strain off networks: “This will overlay the existing coverage provision and existing customers can expect a ‘normal’ service during Games-time. However, at times of peak demand it is unavoidable that mobile networks may be slowed down by higher volumes of traffic. Voice, e-mail and low-data traffic are unlikely to be affected, but it may be difficult to download larger content such as files or images.”

Government advice to business

- Contact your ISP to discuss your contractual agreement with them and the service they will be able to offer during the Games, including any measures they may introduce to manage peak demand.

- Ask your ISP about network upgrades to increase the bandwidth in certain locations.

- Consider alternative means of communication (for example, video-streaming may greatly reduce your internal network’s capacity).

- Contact your mobile service provider to discuss any concerns you have about the service you can expect during the Games.

The news comes as The Department for Transport (DfT) launches its Operation StepChange, a week-long pilot across Whitehall departments, in which many staff will work from home. The department is also encouraging businesses to adopt a flexible working approach during the Olympics.

Transport minister Norman Baker said: “The short-term necessity of the Olympics gives us an opportunity to promote this concept and say it does work and that you can actually run your business without being in central London; that is where we are going.”


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