Preparing for the Games

As part of our on-going commitment to provide our customers and partners with key information for their business, here are the latest details of our preparations to ensure business as normal prior to and during the Games.

The Games this year will be the most technologically advanced by far, not only with HD broadcasting going mainstream and huge amounts of visits expected to official Games and associated media outlet websites, but also with great amounts of content, voice, data and video, produced by the spectators and fans themselves to share with their friends and social networks online. However, the means and underlying technologies used to support all this should be judged on its ability to be invisible!

Colt, as the information delivery platform for European business, is working with its customers and partners to prepare for the Games and all the extra demands on the network and IT services that will ensue. New technologies can be utilised to help manage this demand and provide the confidence that people can enjoy that magnificent 100m finish, or a decisive victory for their team in the rowing, while business knows there will be no adverse impact on its network, IT and services.

The Colt Games Steering Group, including people from across all areas of our business, has been set up to understand customers’ needs, assess risk, liaise with official governing bodies and ensure the impact of the Games on internal and external resources and processes is minimised.

We will be updating this page on a regular basis as more information becomes available to provide our customers and partners with regular proactive information prior to and during the Games.

Best wishes,

The Colt Games Steering Group

 

Customer tick list

What do our customers need to do?

  • Consider - What changes to customer’s business processes are planned, that may impact the working relationship with Colt?
  • Decide - Do customers have any additional bandwidth needs or other services that may be required to provision for the Games period?
  • Provide - Can customers provide early visibility of their orders to help plan and deliver, bearing in mind the Games timeframe, from the 27 July – 12 August and from the 29 August – 9 September?

What will we do for customers?

 We will endeavour to:
 
  • Enable core services to meet the capacity and quality demands placed upon them throughout the Games period and resource appropriately for seamless customer delivery
  • Provide timely updates to customers regarding any change control process that Colt may need to make for the provision of new services or service functionality as a result of the Games
  • Work with customers, partners and our internal resources from across service centres, operational teams and support organisations to deliver business as usual activities
  • Ensure Colt’s end to end supply chain is fully aligned
  • Ensure operational plans are developed with as full an understanding as possible of any third party actions that could hamper delivery, such as restricted transportation in London
  • Communicate openly and transparently with customers and partners in the run up to and during the Games.
     

Games capacity demand

Colt is upgrading the MPLS backbone to prepare for the increased capacity demands. We have carried out extensive intelligence work from previous instances of high network demand, reviewing network usage around such events as the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. From this research, we have significantly increased capacity demand in specific network areas in preparation for the Games. We have also been working across all business units to anticipate forthcoming demand over the next few months and to get as much foresight of orders as possible.

 “The Colt Games Steering Group and our third party suppliers are working in collaboration with the local authorities and various Olympic organisations, collecting detailed information around embargos and potential areas of concern. We have been able to carry out detailed planning which hopefully will ensure we can continue to serve Colt’s customers, providing as smart and fast service delivery as possible on the run up to and during the games” said Caroline Bedford, Service Delivery Senior Manager, Operations.

Keeping things going

We are compensating now for the future restrictions and planning as much as possible to ensure business as usual over the Games period. We are conducting a thorough inspection of our network along the Olympic Route Network, and ensuring that the physical network is in good order prior to any embargos. We are increasing network resilience by proactively rescheduling maintenance routines and ensuring outstanding faults on resilient paths are repaired and restored.  Rapid response teams will also continually sweep the Olympic Route Network to clear issues on the physical network before faults arise. However, during the Games period, if a fault does occur in an area which we cannot access until a specific time e.g. along the Olympic Route Network, we may experience longer than normal delays in repair. Although protected services should not be affected, unprotected services may experience an extended outage. The vast majority of our customers have chosen to take advantage of the protection that’s built into our standard services, so unless you’ve specifically requested unprotected services, you should be fine.

We are looking at the logistics to best manage engineer mobility over this time with resource being available from multiple locations. Our field teams are preparing for the Games timeframe, planning routes based on TFL and other daily resources to monitor real-time congestion levels. We have also changed shift patterns to accommodate the restricted work time periods.

Over the next few weeks we will speak with our customers about their plans for this time period and ensure any changes they are making to their business, or any additional requirements they may have, are passed through to the relevant teams at Colt. This will include, for example, any required changes to times of site visits, additional security measures for site access or additional bandwidth needs 

Visibility of future orders

Due to the access restrictions in place around the Olympic Route Network, getting visibility of customers’ orders as soon as possible will help us to plan and deliver, although there may be extended timeframes for order fulfilment if it is in an impacted area. In addition, be aware that the regulations for all utility organisations are liable to change over the next few weeks, but Colt will ensure flexibility in its planning to best deal with this.


All business teams, from service delivery, service assurance, through to communications and business continuity are working on making sure the critical people needed during the Games period will be present and operational. We are confident we can provide the necessary people and resources to support all customer requirements during this period.

Colt has a number of office locations, network nodes and data centres in and around London. We are making extensive plans for our personnel to ensure that they are still able to work effectively and deliver our services to clients. These plans include flexible working policies, such as working from home, or modifying regular office hours and shift patterns. We also have contingency plans in place for our critical staff at our data centre and service delivery/service assurance sites to ensure consistency in service.

We have the underlying technologies and processes in place to support these initiatives. For example, Colt’s VPN showed good performance in previous ramp ups when staff worked from home such as when tube strikes occurred and we are confident that we have the capacity for to support all of our users that require it. We will also be rolling out Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to those working from home.

Continuous internal communications are provided to all staff to keep them updated on any changes that may occur and an internal query system has been established to help this process.

“We are developing additional flexibility in our HR policies for the upcoming Games timeframe. These are designed to ensure that our business continues to support organisations running smarter, faster and further, but also so that our employees can enjoy the Games atmosphere in London during this remarkable time” said Paul Musson, EVP, Human Resources.

 

Will Colt maintain all customers’ SLAs?

We will endeavour to meet all of our customer requirements over this period. However, response times in London cannot be guaranteed during the Games time and where we are prevented from accessing a location there may be a delay.  

Protecting our services

In order to protect our services and mitigate any risk to our network during the time when access is restricted, we will run a business as usual change freeze. We will run a business as usual change freeze. This will run in two time periods from the 27 July – 12 August and from the 29 August – 9 September.

This will be in effect on our core backbone in London and we will reschedule all routine maintenance to take place outside of these periods. 

Physical security

We take the security of our offices and technical facilities very seriously. Colt maintains a high level of security across all of its sites on an on-going basis. Strict access control is maintained by an Automated Access Control System (ACCS), supported by an Intrusion Detection System (IDS), where appropriate, and monitored by CCTV. An integrated security alarm management system ensures that our 24*7 manned security monitoring centres can effectively identify and manage any security incident. Staff accessing our facilities is background security-screened to a level appropriate to their level of access. The overall level of security at our sites is commensurate with the current threat level and will be adjusted as appropriate should the threat level change. 

Securing supply chains

We are working closely with key external suppliers to check their business continuity plans and ensure they are preparing for the Games and still deliver against their commitments. Colt is also anticipating impacts on the supply chain and taking pro-active steps within its « Games Business Continuity Project » and is taking steps to ensure customer delivery is not impacted. For example, Colt is planning for additional spares for most-needed equipment from key vendors and relocating deliveries and stock locations.

Olympics Route Network (ORN) and the Paralympic Route Network (PRN)

To ensure that all athletes and VIPs can access the Olympic events on schedule, there are specific route restrictions set up between the key Games venues to allow for an Olympic Route Network (ORN)/ Paralympic Route Network (PRN).

For exact details of this route as well as to see the areas where high levels of spectators are expected, please visit the TfL website at: www.tfl.gov.uk/2012. There will be increased congestion along these routes and also in the surrounding areas.

Because of the ORN/PRN, there are restrictions on road works from March 1st for all utility organisations. Work access to these areas will also be limited from midnight – 6AM during the time periods set out below:

  • From 1 March - 30 September there will be no excavation on the ORN, venue specific routes and the A501
  • From 1 July - 9 September, no excavations on the alternative Route network, training route on some A and B roads and key bus routes

 

 

What is Colt doing to prepare for the impact of the Games?

We recognise that in the event of a business disruption, it is important to manage effectively the potential effects on the organisation’s operational capability and the potential impact to customers, employees and stakeholders. Business continuity is part of Colt’s overall operational processes and business culture.

Since London was nominated, and the inception of LOCOG and other London Olympic bodies, our business continuity team has been working with relevant UK authorities and the Olympics Working Group of the Electronic Communications Resilience and Response Group (EC-RRG) to prepare for such a “Global” event, understand business impacts and potential risks leading up to and during the Games. 

Colt is a Category 2 Responder and a supplier of critical national infrastructure and as such, the UK Government expects us to respond effectively to any incidents that may occur. Over the next few months, we’ll be involved in emergency planning and response exercises.

In addition, we are developing action plans to mitigate any significant impacts and we are working with third party organisations to guarantee service delivery during the event. As a result, our teams are ready to respond effectively to any incidents that may occur during the coming months and we will continue to interact with local authorities such as the Transport for London Authority (TfL) to monitor potential risks related to our service to customers. 

What is Colt’s business continuity structure?

The Colt Games Steering Group, including people from across all areas of our business, has been set up to understand customers’ needs, assess risk, liaise with official governing bodies and ensure the impact of the Games on internal and external resources and processes is minimised.

Major incident management, Business continuity management and Crisis management are part of Colt’s DNA.  

Major incident management

When an incident is deemed not to be Business as usual, as it may put our employees or Colt at risk, the process is centrally driven and includes different level of response (Bronze, Silver and Gold) depending on the type and scale of event.  The Bronze and Silver teams ensure that all our activities are co-ordinated and that progress updates are provided to internal staff and customers on a regular basis.

Business continuity management

Colt’s Business Continuity Management (BCM) operational group is designed to support the different levels of incident management (Bronze, Silver and Gold) and to instruct and coordinate all BCM resources that support our core business, having the authority to instruct line management to make the necessary preparations and execute against such plans if activation was deemed necessary. 

Crisis management

The top layer of Colt’s incident response structure is our Crisis Management Team (CMT), which is where the command and control of an incident at a strategic level is provided and where the corporate impact is taken into account. It is also here where the high level decision making occurs, which will define the steer and vision for the end journey for both the Silver and Bronze response teams. The team is supported by a Group Crisis management plan and Business continuity team, which provides senior management with the framework to coordinate rapid assessment and decision making of a situation that impacts or poses a clear and present risk to employees, customers, operations and assets.

 

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