Olympics could cause internet 'dropouts' for broadband users

Jennifer Scott News
6 Feb, 2012

The demand for internet during the 2012 games could lead to ISPs falling down under the weight, admits the Cabint Office.

The Government has issued a warning that internet services could suffer as a result of this summer's Olympic Games.

The Cabinet Office has already encouraged London workers to stay at home and do their jobs remotely, but a new publication from the department, called "Preparing your business for the Games" warned Internet Service Providers (ISPs) might not be able to handle the added network pressure.

"It is possible that internet services may be slower during the Games or, in very severe cases, there may be dropouts due to an increased number of people accessing the internet," read the report - cited by The Guardian.

 As a result, ISPs may introduce caps on internet usage at peak times, leaving businesses and employees alike worried about the capability to work remotely.

Rob Bamforth, principal analyst at Quocirca, told Virtual Clouds communication networks were in the same position as all other networks across the capital.

"All utilities will face pressure during Olympics and networks will be no exception - fixed and mobile in particular will see point concentrations of demand, and will have to plan accordingly."

He said he had "no doubt" traffic management would "have a role to play," but believed it wouldn't have a huge impact on mainstream communications, which will have the sole purpose of ensuring the basics are covered.

"The challenge will be more in the bandwidth hungry applications which may see some (hopefully managed) degradation," he added.

"It'll be a bit like those speed cameras on the M25 - better to slow everyone down but keep moving than to judder to a standstill."

A spokesperson from Virgin Media seemed quite confident their network would cope though.

"We’re always investing in our network and building in more capacity," they told Virtual Clouds.

"As such, we’re prepared for growth in traffic on our network, including increases during the day as more people may choose to work from home or as more people watch more content online."

BT said it had no plans at present to cap services.

"There’s no doubt there’ll be a high level of demand for key services during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – and broadband is no exception.  Our intention is to deliver a flawless Olympic and Paralympic Games for all of our customers. Insofar as is operationally possible and economically viable, BT aims to enable the predicted capacity for all services,” said a BT spokesman.

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