London asked not to tweet as tech fails Olympic trials
The technology behind the Olympics won’t be challenging for gold after two system failures disrupted spectators.
Tens of thousands of fans at yesterday’s football double-header were left facing long queues and delays after the Visa payment system at Wembley Stadium went down.
The glitch came a day after spectators were asked to avoid sending texts and tweets because congested mobile networks were affecting television coverage because data couldn’t get through to commentators.
The Wembley Visa issue meant anyone wanting food or drink at the stadium had to pay by cash, only to be told that many of the cash machine had been removed for the Games.
According to a report from Sky News, Visa – the only payment system allowed at venues due to is status as a sponsor – was down for the duration of the double-header, potentially leaving fans without a way to buy food and drinks.
We are not going to say ‘Don’t, you can’t do it’. It’s just – if it’s not an urgent, urgent one, please kind of take it easy
“We understand that Wembley’s systems failed and therefore they were only accepting cash at the food and beverage kiosks,” a Visa spokesperson told Sky. “This cash only decision was made by Wembley management and not Visa. We are working with the Wembley team to help them fix this as soon as possible.”
The cause of the crash is as yet unknown, but will come as an embarrassment to organisers and Visa, which asked for cash machines using the multi-platform Link system to be removed before the Games.
The fragility of the UK’s data networks was revealed when commentators for the men’s cycling road race were unable to tell viewers how far the leaders were ahead of the chasing pack because data could not get through from the GPS satellite navigation system travelling with the cyclists.
According to organisers, thousand of people tweeting from along the routes meant the mobile cells were overloaded and unable to relay cyclists’ positions back to studios.
“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,” a spokesperson for Locog said. “It’s just – if it’s not an urgent, urgent one, please kind of take it easy.”
Other events due to take place on London’s roads include the men’s and women’s marathon and triathlon.
The IOC spokesman said it appeared the problem lay with over subscription on one particular network, and talks had taken place in an attempt to share more of the data burden. “It’s a network issue, and it is that which we are working on,” he said.