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UK Parliament computer systems borked in botched IT upgrade

Increase in video streaming blamed
Tue Mar 11 2014, 11:14
House of Parliament at night on River Thames

THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER is plagued with technical problems following a bungled information technology (IT) upgrade.

The UK Parliament is suffering from a number of issues that are affecting government ministers, Ministers of Parliament and members of the House of Lords. An internal memo from Joan Miller, director of the Parliament IT service was obtained by political investigation website Exaronews. It read, "I am very aware that many people on the Parliamentary estate have experienced problems with their IT and internet access over the past few weeks".

Addressing speculations that the problems are linked to the rollout of Office 365, she denied it, though she said that "like all other systems that use the internet, it has been affected".

Users have complained of slow running machines, the inability to send external email, and regular system freezes, climaxing in a full system crash last Wednesday.

Greater use of video streaming in Parliament was cited as the reason a contractor was brought in to "upgrade and expand our links out of the estate to the internet". However, the upgrade was botched, with the result that MPs were left unable to watch last night's Newsnight on iPlayer, or whatever "greater use of video streaming" might mean.

The migration of Microsoft Office systems to the cloud comes after Cabinet Minister Francis Maude recently announced plans to ditch Microsoft altogether in favour of cheaper open source software, much to the chagrin of the company.

In a statement to The INQUIRER, a spokeman said, "Unfortunately, in January, the company which provides this fully managed service made an error which they have now rectified at their own cost. This caused some disruption to Parliamentary services and inconvenience for users and Parliamentary ICT and the supplier have made corrections to the fault. We are working with the supplier to ensure that the services remain resilient in the future."

The news comes a day after David Cameron announced ambitious his desire to see extremely fast 5G services in the UK that he claimed will be able to download a movie in one second. µ


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