London Attack Disrupts Phones, Web

Thursday's terrorist attacks on the public transportation system of the city of London have largely left the communications system of London intact. However, following the attacks it has been near impossible for any kind of communication to take place as networks were overloaded with calls.

All phone operators reported greatly increased activity on their networks and severe congestion. Several operators said customers were having to place calls several times in order to get a connection, although conditions improved throughout the day.

"No U.K. mobile phone operators have infrastructure in the tube, so there are no base stations that can be affected in the Underground system," Orange spokesperson Sarah Taylor told PCWorld.com early Thursday. "We have taken action to ensure maximum availability and improve traffic flow on our network in the London area."

A BT spokesperson requested that customers "only make essential calls" to allow emergency services easy access to phone lines for the near future.

The BBC Web site temporarily crashed during the morning British time following the attacks. It went live again midday after site designers had created a no-frills design to save bandwidth and transmit essential information to visitors.

The British government does have the right to take over the mobile phone network in times of emergency in order to facilitate emergency communications, but it did not ask mobile phone operators to do so Thursday.

The problems in London echoed similar problems in Madrid and New York following those cities' terrorist attacks.

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