Almost a year ago, I posted commentary up on a major BT outage affecting London, caused by works at the Olympics site. Well theres now another outage ongoing, and I thought, as the last post had a lot of commenters, indicating to me that there wasn’t a lot of readily available information out there – I’d do the same this time around.
12:56 (BST) 31st March 2010
Information released to BT partner network.
BT are currently experiencing a loss of interconnect in London and surrounding areas, this is due to a fire in the Paddington exchange area.
We currently have limited information regarding this issue.
Further updates will follow as BT release more information.
16:40 (BST) 31st March 2010
In a further statement, BT said:
Following major flooding at a BT exchange in the Paddington area, tens of thousands of customers in parts of North and West London may be experiencing a loss of broadband and/or telephone service.
Customers in other parts of the country may also be affected. We are currently working on restoring services to customers, however as this is a complex incident we cannot accurately predict when all services will be restored. We will issue further updates as the situation changes.
Any customers needing to make calls to the emergency services who have a problem using their phones are advised to do so by using their mobile phone, or alternatively by using a friend or neighbour’s working phone.
I must say, I do love the over use of the phrase “may be experiencing loss” – look man, if the exchange is screwed, its not that customers might be experiencing a loss, they WILL be. This is going to highlight in a very painful way, just how badly put together and aged our network infrastructure in this country is. Its laughable that only a few weeks or so ago our government (in their infinate wisdom) decided to tout about how well the UK would stand up to a cyber attack. Well, perhaps we could, but a simple fire/flood (how can one not be sure?!) takes out most of the comms infrastructure for London. Just as a badly placed digger took out most of the South East of London’s communications infrastructure about a year ago!
Oh and what sensible and useful advise from BT there… if your landline isn’t working, use your mobile, or maybe check to see if your neighbours phone is working. Well I suspect that the London cell networks are currently very congested, and its highly improbable that your phone line would be down and your neighbours wouldn’t – unless of course they have a cable circuit, which in any case is also going to be suffering from a massive congestion spike, if its not fallen over. Most of the infrastructure in the UK depends on the BT backbone, which will also be suffering as a result.
From what I’ve gathered by speaking to other ISPs, there may be issues relating to this affecting up to 450 exchanges nationwide, but the sharp end of the stick is being felt in London. I really do hope that a lot of kit hasn’t been damaged in the exchange, getting it all back up and running 100% will take much more time than BT would like to admit otherwise.
I’ll keep updating this post as I hear more. Why not post a comment if you have something to contribute or found this useful. Oh and of course, you can talk to me on twitter 🙂