BT’s Olympic Commitment

29 February, 2012 (15:46) | BT, Business, ISP's | Tony Tugulu

Any ISP looking for some easy PR coverage knows that nothing beats predicting a surge in bandwidth during major national and sporting events (Euro and World Cups, Wimbledon, Royal Weddings etc). Forecasting a strain on the national broadband infrastructure, should Andy Murray reach the Wimbledon final is almost guaranteed to create a news story somewhere on the web. So what is this blog post about?

Yes – you guessed it a prediction of broadband infrastructure strain during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s great that we can watch this historic sporting event at work (note to Powernet staff: not too much at work please) on your laptop or mobile phone, but the real concern for anyone relying on BT’s infrastructure is their Olympian commitment to delivering the voice and data infrastructure that will make this year’s games happen and what this could mean for the rest of the UK.

BT is an official supplier / partner for the 2012 Olympics which means they have effectively installed enough infrastructure to support a new town. By the time the Olympic park closes in September BT will have:

  • Installed 80,000 connections across 94 UK locations
  • Laid 4,500m of internal cabling
  • Carried up to 60Gb of data every second
  • Supported 1,800 wireless access points
  • Installed 16,500 telephone lines
  • Provided 14,000 SIM cards
  • Plugged-in 10,000 Cable TV Outlets
  • Paid for 642,000 man-hours
  • Put 800 people on the ground during the games

So BT has an undertaking of Olympic proportions on their plate and it looks like they will have enough hands on stand-by in case any problems arise. The only negative to BT’s Olympic commitment is it will leave the UK short of BT resource for much of the summer. London in particular is going to see very little non-Olympic BT activity as staff and resource are thrown at this summer’s big event. BT’s focus on London will also pull in much of its engineer base from the rest of the UK, making it difficult to get an engineer visit through the summer months.

I am suspecting that the games will be available to watch online via the BBC and naturally this will cause a spike in bandwidth usage (Men’s 100m sprint final for example). But the question facing ISPs and network managers (especially if you are based in London) is: “Where do I find a BT engineer this summer?”

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