Once again the wonderful folks in Whitehall prove that they aren't quite in touch with reality. Operation White Noise, which took place yesterday and today was apparently designed to "simulate a catastrophic nationwide communications failure", as if the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) had collapsed nationally.
Apparently, some folks watching over it all were going to learn if the government can respond in real time, and cope without landlines. Data and mobile communications would be kept up and running throughout the exercise.
I'd just like to repeat myself for a second there. A simulated collapse of the national telephone service. Mobile and data communications would be kept in tact.
Hmm, if only I could remember how data traffic is carried around this country. Oh, yes, that's right. Via the same channels as the good old telephone network.
And I can remember a day when a single BT router failure somewhere near Swindon took out pretty much all of BT broadband, as well as the one my work at the time were using, and whichever ADSL providers that half of our customers were using too (many phone calls, "My email isn't working", can you get to Google? No? it's not your email, our server's fine, it's your internet connection, ring your ISP).
I think most people have tales of their webserver dropping offline because someone at their hosting provider unplugged the wrong router, or a single USP failed and took out a whole rack of servers.
Can anyone remember what happened to the web on July 7th 2005? Here's the BBCs web stats for that time.
If the phone network went down nationally, and by some utter miracle some data connectivity stayed up, we wouldn't be able to get anything done, because the web would get so busy it would die.
So this operation white noise is a fully non-realistic exercise that doesn't work, and won't give any idea about how well government could cope with a total catastrophic failure of the national communication networks.
I'm confident, however, that we will be fine.
I've seen enough films in my time to know that there will be some moustache wearing chaps at an RAF base with a radio and a Morse key, who is able to contact the bally Yanks to come and get us out of this mire again...