Skip Navigation

North West broadband problems refuse to go away
Wednesday 03 November 2010 17:13:38 by Andrew Ferguson

The problem that occurred on Friday 29th October that resulted in a loss of broadband service for some BT Wholesale broadband services in Scotland, North of England and Northern Ireland was largely fixed during the early hours of 30th October. Alas it appears that for some broadband users the fault has been ongoing, with one user posting on our forums that their service only returned today, and STV warning that some people may experience broadband blips as further work is carried out. The outage affected some 20,000 lines in total, which is around 0.2% of the lines run by BT Wholesale. Further problems have appeared today with issues centred around a BT RAS in Edinburgh which provides service to 20CN customers in the region.

Broadband service providers in the case of major issues like this should receive updates from BT, and some providers such as Andrews & Arnold and Plusnet make these publicly available. It is probably worth bookmarking sites such as these on your mobile phone (assuming it has a web browser) so that if your BT based broadband fails, you can quickly check without the frustration of joining a long support queue.

While people are advised to try switching their router off and back on to try and restore service, do not do this too often as if the BT Wholesale dynamic line management systems are running they may see this as instability and slow your broadband down. Doing a reset of the router every 4 or 5 hours is probably sufficient, certainly switching off/on ten times in an hour is likely to see your connection speed reducing.


Posted by muymalestado over 6 years ago
As a Plusnet subscriber I would normally use this site to rate the PN service very highly. Now, this was a BT fault in the 'pipes' so not PN's direct fault, but I for one have yet to receive any word of explanation or apology from PN. That is sort of in contradiction to your article stating that PN has a speedy and useful information service.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
It's annoying when they say 'Technical Issue', i'd actually prefer them to say what that technical issue is, the details, etc...

Can't believe they still have users on 20CN network :P
Posted by dsf58 over 6 years ago
I must be unlucky or something is going on, in the last two weeks I have spent more on dial-up than I spend on broadband in two months. I find it hard to believe that broadband for the Northern half of the country is so fragile.
Posted by mike4ql over 6 years ago
The 12 hour outage we had to suffer yesterday doesn't appear in BT's list. Are they trying to pretend it didn't happen?
Posted by rickhodger over 6 years ago
BT claimed the problem on Friday was a power cut and 20,000 homes were affected. The problem yesterday was faulty network hardware, and 1.2m homes were affected.

A friend in BT tells me both incidents were identical. A card in a router in Edinburgh locked up on Friday, and they simply rebooted it and hoped it would keep working. It locked up again yesterday and they finally attempted replacing it.

Why is a major telco allowed to build a non-redundant network, fail, allow half the country to lose internet for an entire working day and NOT get fined or at least slapped on the wrist?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
If half the country had lost internet for a day, that would mean 10 million connections, and I think we would be seeing a lot more noise being made.

One problem is that are minor blips in the network all over the country, and one MSO does not mean these other ones don't continue.

So there may be more to this than BT are saying. Remember IPstream services do not carry a five 9's SLA or similar.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@rickhodger:If you want non-redundancy you'll have to pay for it. For starters you'll need to get an SLA. Even then I doubt any SLA offers 100% availability.

Bottom line:It's cheap. Stuff happens.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
At the simplest level if no broadband means a business losing money then one LLU based service, and one BT Wholesale based service seems a sensible option.

Or an agreement to share a desk at another firm for a few days.

Even the phone network only really has redundancy for certain types of users.
Posted by rickhodger over 6 years ago
@AndrueC Non-redundancy at the user level and non-redundancy at the wholesale level are completely different issues.

An ISP with no redundancy would not be in business for very long. Two BRAS, two border routers, two upstreams. Everything is done in pairs. For BT to have put such a vast number of users through a single system with no redundancy is inexcusable.
Posted by alexdow over 6 years ago
Agreed fully about the Lack of Redundancy, completely cotrary to the original Design Concept of the World Wide Web.

Building such redundancy in would also provide the same level for the Phone side of the system.

I accept that having such redundancy would have a price; but with the large numbers of users involved, how much would it really add to the individual bill?

Regarding the suggestion "to share a desk at another firm for a few days", how practical is this as the nearest firms were probably affected by the outage as well?

Posted by alexdow over 6 years ago
What happened to the Batteries and Stand-by Generators that used to feature in Telephone Exchanges?

Posted by mbriscoe over 6 years ago
"Agreed fully about the Lack of Redundancy, completely cotrary to the original Design Concept of the World Wide Web."

Is that not the common mistake of confusing the "Internet" with the "World Wide Web"?

Even the resilience of the Internet is usually exaggerated, it would need massive overcapacity to be very resilient.
Posted by MarcusJClifford over 6 years ago
I question the 20,000 figure, as without exception everyone I've spoken to who has an ADSL connection based on 20CN technology was affected by this outage - Zen, Aquiss, UKFSN, Plusnet, BT. ALL suffered in the Friday outage. I think the 20,000 is very low, I dont know exact figures, but I think it was much, much more than that.
Posted by iwish over 6 years ago
I lost my connection today again at 1:30pm and have been told its the BT outage and can take upto 48 hours to fix
Guess some one forgot to put 10p in the meter
Posted by iwish over 6 years ago
This is what it tells me on the plusnet site

Update Number FINAL
Detected 09/11/2010 09:24
Started 09/11/2010 09:24
Actual Clear Time: 09/11/2010 10:00
Area Codes My area code 01563 is one of the areas hit

it says clear time 10.00 now is that 10 pm cause its now 4.30pm and i still have very bad service
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.