From The London Telegraph
The public may not be not be able to use their mobile phones because of extreme overloading of phone capacity in London during the 2012 Olympic Games the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has warned.
Johnson said the continuing challenges of trying to shift mobile phone capacity from other areas of London to the Olympic Park during the Games was ongoing but said “there will be maximum strain on the network”.
Johnson said he had been concerned about mobile phone capacity for more than two years but the increasing reliance on smartphones to transmit data, pictures, access the net and the booming use of tablets like iPad was making the task increasingly difficult.
He said: “We are doing a huge amount of work to ensure there is enough coverage.
“But we have got to be realistic, in the men’s 100m final people want to download huge quantities of data which will put a massive strain on the networks. We are looking to install enough masts and have enough physical infrastructure and coverage for the huge demands, I am confident we will crack it.”
While annoying for the public, and a potential risk for the city’s reputation, any mobile phone blackouts will also impact on operational aspects of the Games as well as disrupting other non-Olympic communications.
Transport operators, Olympic Games volunteers and staff and security officers will use smart phones to communicate to then relay important security and travel updates to the public.
Transport for London is also about to roll out a text message travel update scheme.
Plans to have mobile phone coverage in the tube network were abandoned several months ago, and there have been some planning issues in regards to erecting the mobile phone towers, but the latest problem simply relates to the expectation many of the spectators in the Olympic Park’s nine venues will want to tweet, send pictures and text at rates not seen before.
London Olympic sponsor BT acknowledged the problems despite creating a London network capable of the equivalent of 6,000 fictional books of data being transmitted each second.
BT Openzone chief executive Chris Bruce said, “It will be challenging at peak times because a very large number of people will be doing everything at once and that puts a strain on the capacity.”
BT is rolling out 500,00 Wi-Fi hot spots across London by the time of the Games, some of which will be free.