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Overloaded Cell Network Interferes with Olympic Coverage

An event as big as the Olympics is watched by millions at home and abroad. Not everyone can attend an event themselves, and instead have to settle for watching the Games from home. However, for many people, that coverage was interrupted this past weekend.

Reuters reports that during Saturday's coverage of the men's road cycling race, commentators were unable to get timing information because of issues with the communications network. It seems the cyclists' bikes were equipped with GPS chips. Unfortunately, an overloaded network prevented data from these chips from being transmitted. This meant commentators were unable to provide details such as how far back the chasing pack was from those leading. As a result, the IOC has asked spectators at the games to 'take it easy' when it comes to sending messages or tweeting about the games.

"Of course, if you want to send something, we are not going to say 'don't, you can't do it', and we would certainly never prevent people," Reuters cites the IOC spokesman as saying. "It's just, if it's not an urgent, urgent one, please kind of take it easy," the spokesman continued, adding, "We don't want people to stop engaging in social media but we are asking to see if people can send by other means."

According to the Register, O2 was the network responsible for the issue. "There was a capacity issue with Box Hill at the weekend," an O2 spokesperson told The Reg. "You can imagine that all of the people around that area were frantically using their phones so that was the reason for the oversubscription."

Thanks to the advent of smartphones, tablets and other MIDs, organisers of events like the Olympics now have to worry about whether or not local infrastructure can withstand the added pressure of so many people in one place. The fact that ticket-holders at Olympic events are apparently prohibited from posting photos and video to social networks should help, though.

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