British businesses are being warned that they could lose their internet connections during the Olympics due to a surge in the number of people going online at key times. The demand could be such that internet companies might be forced to ration access, according to official advice.

The warning, in the Cabinet Office’s official advice, Preparing your Business for the Games, says that the country’s telecoms system may be unable to cope with demand to access the internet in certain areas. Businesses are being encouraged to offer staff flexible working arrangements to try to ease the pressure.
[snip]
The Department for Transport (DfT)will launch Operation StepChange, a week-long pilot across Whitehall departments, in which many staff will work from home. Ministers believe the project could result in a “permanent revolution” in which home-working becomes common practice for civil servants, who are expected to use technology such as video conferencing to communicate with colleagues.

However, the initiative is not without its setbacks. The DfT conducted Operation Footfall, a pilot, last August, that resulted in participating staff experiencing internet connection problems, according to those familiar with the project.

Millions of teenagers will suffer from social media withdrawal. Oh the humanity!



  1. Peppeddu says:

    What a BS

    The upgrade of the Internet infrastructure shouldn’t be part of the cost of the Olympics?

    One of the purpose of the Olympics is the brand new infrastructure that will be left for the citizens (hey citizens!) to use once the show’s over.

    Gee, they spend hundreds of millions of Euros in building stadiums and they don’t invest a fraction of it in the Internet infrastructure?
    Now I know why Amazon has it’s European data center in Ireland instead of England.

  2. jescott418 says:

    This is typical of how infrastructure like internet is done. The design is never to build a system capable of decent speed and any significant number of users. Its one reason AT&T in the US gets so much grief. Sure they have decent speed at minimal user access but its not capable of that as the network saturates. Then do even dumber things like add streaming content services and you have a mess. If everyone was just texting,calling or sending pictures and maybe updating their social network. That would be enough their to slow things down. Now add more data hogging streaming and its hard to imagine if anybody will be happy.

  3. andycatus says:

    Scary Reason: They need to put a cap on volume so they can achieve their heightened level of scrutiny off all internet traffic. They have their own processing bandwidth restrictions too.

    Who is that knocking down my door….? back in a mo.

  4. President Amabo (& my wife Chewbacca) (threaded comment systems are for retards) says:

    Morons. The IOC should look at internet capacity as part of the city choosing process. Of course, the bribes take precedence.

    • msbpodcast says:

      The IOC isn’t interested in internet/broadband capacity because they can’t monetize it.

      The Olympics aren’t about the people, except for their capacity to suck on a giant broadcast glass teat.

  5. MartinJJ says:

    It’s a distributionproblem TV networks solved a long time ago already. TV networks just pick up some satellite signal and distribute that locally to their users and basically that always works. You see these problems happen with internet with every major event around the globe. The whole world tries to connect to some local streamserver(s) at the same time. The system is not build for that and it simply becomes overloaded. Besides that, internet providers are in the game of making as much money as possible. They use every trick in the book for that. Slowing down connections, paying rediculous amounts of money per MB or whatever they can think of to reduce the amount of traffic on their big pipe. The more data, the more it costs them. And most helpdesks blame it on their users right away when questioned. Once providers start realizing they can win big time by delivering good service instead of constantly screwing their users, things may change. Once every provider around the globe starts offering good streaming services locally with proxy systems or whatever, everyone could have a good connection and the local bandwitdh problems around major event areas may just disappear.

    • ReadyKilowatt says:

      Over the Internet, you would be referring to Multicast:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multicast

      Cable companies and Verizon FiOS use multicast to transport digital video over their core network, but block MCAs at the switch and only allow certain ports (video edge devices) to have access to the multicast address range. These then convert the MPEG over IP datastream to an encrypted QAM carrier for delivery to set top boxes (and cable-card TVs, if you can find one).

      The big problem with multicast on a wide scale is the load put on the router’s processor. Every “join” of a multicast puts more load. This is sort of by design, moving the load off the server and the server’s connection in exchange for more work done by the routers in the network. The network operator is the barrier to entry, because he has the highest cost in the game.

      Over any other mass medium (such as satellite) it is called broadcasting. Broadcasting only works because you either have a large enough footprint to get enough of an audience to cover your costs, or you have content that appeals to a wide enough audience to again cover your costs. Broadcasting puts all the intelligence (and cost) at the transmitter, creating a natural barrier to entry for niche players.

      Unicast, while not perfect, tends to spread the costs around. The content provider needs to have enough bandwidth to cover his anticipated audience, the network operator can more accurately predict network traffic (and use lower cost routers and switches), and the consumer generally has to have a smarter device since it can’t simply pass-through a joined multicast/program ID.

      But in this case, they’re talking about everyone updating their Facebook and Twitter pages at the same time, all unique sessions, over TCP (everything above are UDP based). Terrible use of broadcast type systems.

  6. orchidcup says:

    The government should pay for an adequate staff of mental health professionals to stand by for crisis counseling when the internet fails and isolates people from their social media.

    The sudden onset of solitary confinement and the traumatic interruption of the free flow of information could result in mass psychosis and severe depression accompanied with anxiety attacks and general panic.

    Being disconnected from the world is the worst kind of trauma, and the government needs to carefully consider public safety.

  7. ReadyKilowatt says:

    I thought all the locals were being kicked out of London for the Olympics? That’s what the Daily Mail reports, so it must be true!

    http://tinyurl.com/7kstc39

    • orchidcup says:

      The local people that are being forced out of leased properties in order for the landlords to collect exorbitant rates could simply refuse to vacate the property.

      By the time the flood of eviction proceedings clears the court system, the Olympics would be over.

  8. NewfornatSux says:

    Raise the price and the rationing would be unnecessary.

  9. AdmFubar says:

    what a crock! there is plenty of capacity, this is a lie told by the teleco’s so they can justify raising the rates.

  10. Animby says:

    I hope a hell of a fuss is raised about this. Then, maybe, BT will upgrade that old Gateway 286 they use for the server.

  11. cynic says:

    These are public servants we’re talking about.
    They often don’t do much in the office, so sending them home won’t change anything.
    Their online profile will hardly change – facebook, gambling & email from 9-5

  12. zeph says:

    >Millions of teenagers will suffer from social media withdrawal. Oh the humanity!

    On the bright side, so will surprisingly clueless bloggers who sound old.

  13. Christopher says:

    And won’t working from home just increase the problem as now they will have to connect through their VPN to get into the work system. So now you have the home traffic and the work traffic at the same time.

  14. Glenn E. says:

    I’m sure that by “rationing” access, they mean that the royal family, and most other wealthy Brits, will get guaranteed priority access. While everyone else, gets rationed what’s left.

    Here’s a thought. Perhaps before deciding to host the Olympic games, they ought to have seen if they can handle the logistics of access, real and virtual. “We want the games here! Oh wait. Our roads and subscribe lines are weak. Ok, we’ll worry about it later.” I believe every major city thinks like this.

    The Olympics have replaced what use to be World’s Fair fever. And some of those lost money too. Back in the 19th century, and early 2oth, such fairs and expos helped build (or rebuild) struggling cities. But later they became more of a logistical nightmare, with questionable returns on investment. Today, what city gets to host the Olympics, because they need it to rebuild? If anything, they better be prepared for an economic gut punch, as the cost of playing host!

    Here’s an idea. How about if Brit’s royal family gives up some of their private land for the grounds of the games? Bet that won’t happen. So the rest of England has to sacrifice, eh? As usual.

    • Animby says:

      What? You think people are going to travel to Balmoral, Scotland to see synchronized swimming?

  15. Rob Leather says:

    This is bullshit. It’s just a way of getting tax payers to stump up cash to pay ISP’s to improve their networks under the bull crap that the Olympics are going to stuff it up.

    The fact that most ISP’s are OUTSIDE London seems to escape the report. That at the fact that bandwidth would restrict usage more than capacity could.

    If you want to know how much BS it is, it doesn’t mention 3G internet access…. despite this likely being the REAL pinch point.

  16. CrankyGeeksFan says:

    London was supposed to roll out a huge fiber-optic cable internet installation 5 or 6 years ago. Will that be swamped? If it’s not up to speed there will there be a call for upgrades? What about cell phones?

    There is a study commssioned by a clean coal company that states 77% of parties questioned – companies and officials – believe there will be an electrical shortage during the Games.