London's mayor worries Olympics will stretch networks to breaking point

London Mayor Boris Johnson said that mobile networks face a "massive strain" during next summer's London Olympics as sports enthusiasts push capacity to the limit with text and picture messaging.

Johnson, who highlighted these concerns two years ago, says that operators have been working hard to make sure adequate coverage and bandwidth will be available for the London Olympic sites.

"We have got to be realistic, and in the 100 metres final or whatever it happens to be, people will want to download huge quantities all over the world," Johnson told reporters, according to Reuters. "They will want to be sending huge quantities of data in JPEG format or film or whatever, and that will place massive strain on the network."

However, Johnson admitted that local planning permission to erect cellular masts had held up some installations, including on the Olympic Park in Stratford in East London, but he was certain future applications would be successful.

Separately, BT has announced that it will be ramping up the number of Wi-Fi hotspots in London to around 500,000 in time for the Olympics. The company's Capital Wi-Fi programme is scheduled to start next month with the installation of hotspots in more than 630 London payphones. Others will be added from using residential Wi-Fi access points and independent businesses across the city.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Cellular-News article

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