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As Olympics Draw Near, Fear of Internet Delays and Crashes Begin

February 08, 2012


As the Olympic games in London this summer draw closer, many areas around Europe are finding the need to combat possible Internet slow-downs and blackouts. In a document released by the British Cabinet on Tuesday, officials warned businesses that the country might not be able to meet their Internet needs during this year’s 2012 Olympic games in London.

Because of an expected influx of over 850,000 people into the city for the events, businesses have been told that Internet providers may be forced to ration access to the web during certain times of day and service may fall out altogether at other times. The risk is especially greater for those who work from home and need the Internet to run and operate their daily businesses.

“A lot of businesses have still not prepared for the enormous risks presented by the London Games,” said Kathryn Hurt, an executive at a workspace leasing company in London. “There's been a lot of discussion about traffic hotspots, but very little about potential internet traffic problems. The risk is that home workers are unable to work effectively due to over-capacity.”

In the town of Leeds, just north of London, officials have already begun to take precautions to ensure that the Internet does not disappear during the games. On Thursday, February 16, the first IXLeeds Internet Exchange Point (IXP) is being activated. Its objective is to allow Internet Service Providers in the northern part of the UK to have access to faster, cheaper broadband and make that region less dependent on London for Internet services.

Also, by creating this new network, it allows the northern region of the UK to create a new regional Internet exchange service (IXLeeds) that will make the Internet run more efficiently in the region, decreasing dependency on London in the future as well.

In areas like Portland, they are also preparing for an Internet environment that may change during the Olympic games. BT (News - Alert) has began installing high speed Internet in Portland, and plans to install over 100,000 before the start of the games.

BT has also agreed to supply athletes at the Olympic games with free Wi-Fi, pledging its support to London to help keep the Internet access at the games quick and reliable, not only for fans, but for citizens that need it to operate businesses and run their everyday lives.

Overall, it seems like the Internet will accessible in London and other cities around Europe but it may be slower than expected. This may put a damper on viewers who planned to watch the games streaming live over the Internet, but as Europe scrambles to prepare, all travelers from the U.S. should be aware that the Internet may not be as good on the other side of the pond.

A recent graduate from the University of Oregon, Nick aspires to build a career in the digital world with a focus on technology, sports, and online media.

Edited by Jennifer Russell