Explosions Rock London's Transport System

Communications networks remain largely intact, but mobile and
fixed-line phone networks are severely congested.

John Blau and James Niccolai, IDG News Service
Thursday, July 07, 2005

A series of about six explosions rocked London's public transport
system Thursday morning, killing at least two people and injuring
others. Mobile and fixed-line telephone networks were severely
congested as panicked Londoners called relatives in the city, but
there were no initial reports of more widespread communications

The cause of the explosions, which tore through a double-decker bus,
an underground station and other locations, was not known early
Thursday afternoon, although Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair said
the incidents appeared to be the work of terrorists.

London's public transport system was brought to a halt, with all
Underground stations and bus routes closed, according to several

Representatives from local operators Orange, O2 (UK), T-Mobile UK,
Vodafone, and British Telecommunications all said they appeared to
have suffered no damage to their infrastructure.

"Our network is not damaged but we are experiencing a high volume of
traffic, forcing customers to dial numbers a few times before they get
a connection," a Vodafone spokesperson says. "We're telling them they
can expect some delay but they should keep trying."

Orange spokesperson Sarah Taylor says: "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. "We have taken action to
ensure maximum availability and improve traffic flow on our network in
the London area."

BT saw a big surge in call volumes, congesting its networks and
leading to delays in calls getting through, a spokesperson says.

"We're asking people to only make essential calls," he says.

Internet Traffic

The news Web site of the British Broadcasting Corp., the state TV and
radio company, continued to provide updates on events, although the
site was slower to load than usual.

The main BBC Web site at www.bbc.co.uk, which usually carries
information about TV programs and entertainment, was unavailable for
part of the morning. It came back online around midday in a
slimmed-down form, with news headlines relating to the explosions and
a warning not to call emergency services except in life-threatening

There was no noticeable variation in the volume of Internet traffic
through The London Internet Exchange (Linx), which manages peering
points in London for all major U.K. ISPs.

"With the Internet, there's been no effect," says Vanessa Evans, a
spokesperson for Linx, adding, "There's a lot of traffic flowing to
the news sites, which are holding up very well."

James Niccolai and Peter Sayer of the IDG News Service contributed to
this report.


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