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The London Observer claims in a story published yesterday that the £1.4bn emergency network called FiReControl being developed to address bomb scares, fires and floods is unlikely to be in place for the 2012 London Olympic Games and "could even end up scrapped."

According to the FiReControl system web site: "Under the current planning assumptions the first three Regional Control Centres will go live in summer 2010 - nine months later than previously expected, with the full system expected in place by spring 2012 - five months later than planned."

However, the Observer says that leaked documents indicate that the FiReControl system is actually 10 months behind the published schedule, which means that it will not be ready for the Olympics.

The Conservative Party, the Observer story notes, "have repeatedly said that any control centre that is not operational if and when they get elected will be canceled, suggesting the entire project faces the axe."

The FiReControl system, which was to integrated 46 stand alone fire control rooms into 9 regional centers, was originally initiated in March 2004 and slated to be completed by November of 2007. The government promised that it would use "tried and tested" technology to ensure that a rapid (and cost contained) implementation would ensue. That didn't happen, as costs have exploded from the original project estimate of £100 million.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) called for a complete review and overhaul of the project last November when the project was delayed again. At that time, the FBU said that "Everyone knows this project is a disaster."

This latest potential slip will no doubt make the FBU demands for a review even more emphatic, especially after a spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said: "We are confident that Fire Control system can be delivered and as with any project of this size it is right and proper for there to be contingency plans put in place."

The Conversation (0)

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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