BT suffers huge broadband failure across much of UK

BT logo The power failure has affected customers using BT's business broadband services

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A "power failure" at a major exchange in Birmingham has seen huge numbers of BT Broadband customers across the UK cut off.

The company said those affected numbered into the hundreds of thousands - about 5% of its total customers.

Business users were particularly badly affected, with many reporting considerable lost revenue as a result.

BT said the service has now been fully restored, advising customers to "turn their hub or modem off and on again".

The first reports of lost connections began to appear at about 13:00 BST.

By 15:00 many customers on consumer packages reported being able to gain access, but business customers had to endure longer delays.

In a statement, the company said: "We can confirm that, as a result of a power failure at one of our major exchanges, some customers may have experienced loss of broadband service for a brief period this afternoon.

Start Quote

We have been doing our very best to keep customers informed.”

End Quote BT spokesperson

"All services have now been restored, with the majority of BT's consumer broadband customers' service being restored within just one hour.

"Some business customers' broadband service may have been affected for a slightly longer period. Should any customers continue to experience difficulty in accessing their broadband service, they are advised to turn their hub or modem off and on again."

Many businesses contacted the BBC to vent their frustration at the service, suggesting today's problems have had a serious impact on sales.

Daniel Morris, in London, said: "Really frustrating for a small business as we are so reliant on the internet.

"Best thing was the BT helpline advising customers to logon to if they can't get through on the phone - not easy logging in without internet!"

Greg Gillies, director of IT support company Pond Group, added: "We were unable, along with the rest of the country, to get hold of BT for confirmation and had to rely on Twitter for unconfirmed updates."

In response, BT has said they have received a "large number of calls" and was doing its best to answer queries using social media and other methods.

"We have been doing our very best to keep customers informed," the spokesperson added.

"BT apologises for any inconvenience caused."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 355.

    Its funny that the BBC decide to report on just one service provider - others frequently have outages - I can't tell you my past struggles with Virgin's services! however a company of BT's size will have contingency plans so I'm suprised at the impact of this. It must be frustrating for those effected but surely its an excuse to leave the office early and enjoy the last day of sunshine!

  • rate this

    Comment number 354.

    @336 When I last visited my grandparents a power outage effected 5 homes. Could've been worse, that transformer might have powered FTTC for 2 streets.

    Since fibre doesn't draw power from the exchange so has to rely on the dinky cabinet battery for 1hr of backup power, should "3 pensioners lose fibre connection for 2 hours" be a national headline like "25% of BT Broadband customers in UK offline"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 353.

    You'll notice in all articles about this there is no apology from BT. Good to see they are still the same bombastic organisation they always were.

  • rate this

    Comment number 352.

    power trippers..

  • rate this

    Comment number 351.

    Similar Thing here. We went out at 12pm and came back on a 2.30pm.
    No clues from BT.
    Tried phoning the business fault line and the residential, both engaged! No message to explain what was happening.
    We rebooted all our systems and was unable to process customer requests until our broadband came back on.
    I guess we forget how much we depend on these services until we lose them. All good now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 350.

    Ivan Idea and you assume a diesel generator is all what is needed? Are you at the exchange and know the cause of the outage? Is it just a mere power cut because BT forgot to put a coin in the meter or could it be an energy company failure of supply the exchange? You can't have your dream infrastucture for your 18 quid a month you grudgingly pay.

  • rate this

    Comment number 349.

    It's about time we all took stock of the fact that modern technology is erasing our memories, taking away the power of conversation, and wiping out the ability to think for ourselves. Take advantage of an internet failure and do something worthwhile like talking to someone face to face, seeing daylight, or just sittting by a riverbank watching the world go by-discover what life is really about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 348.

    BT's call centres are a farce. This is supposed to be a communication provider. Months ago I attempted to have my faulty hub replaced and it took months to get through to someone in the UK who could fix the problem. Every time I had called India I was forced to wait for periods of up to 25 mins to receive a negative response in a repetitive parrot fashion. No fault on my system sir.

  • rate this

    Comment number 347.

    @coltras Virgin fibre to the premises? No it isn't.

    It is fibre to the cabinet and then coax.

    Virgin do offer FTTP to businesses the same as BT do. In areas where they don't have a Virgin Media core network they rent the fibre off BT Wholesale anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 346.

    As the article above mentions the specific B T broadband helpline suggests you go online to solve the problem.How crazy is that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 345.

    @331.Matt - lol. What a fantastic idea. I wish my office had thought of that when we had a power cut not so long ago.

    We use an app called Salesforce, it's a CRM app, it's web based. Without it we could not do our jobs properly.

    But hey McDs have WiFi, we could have all gone down to McDs, taken over an area of the restaurant and turned it into our office, us and about a thousand other people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 344.

    @Adrian Clearly BT don't have a very good understanding either.

  • rate this

    Comment number 343.

    To Camsoft. If you don't understand how to protect your business by having suitable backup systems in place you probably won't stay in business very long! Your comment about "UPS" to BT displays a total lack of understanding.

  • rate this

    Comment number 342.

    For business backup connectivity you can use broadband from more than one supplier and as a third option a 3G dongle. Quite a few business class firewalls can do this (Well the ones we sell our business customer do) Also many modern mobile phones can be used as an Internet gateway so in a real emergency you can hook your phone up to your PC and carry on. All businesses should have TESTED DR plans!

  • rate this

    Comment number 341.

    "Many users took to Twitter to complain that the company is not answering its helpline" No, there were over 1,000 people waiting in the queue to be told "Yes, it's a national outage" BT's contact centres will not have been a joy to work in today! these things happen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 340.

    You Said.....
    293. Alan_Urban_Wimax
    Wireless Internet Connection seems to be the way forward!!

    But wireless isn't magic vapourware - it still connects back to a wired network at some point and both wireless and wired kit need electricity so it's not immune to power cuts!

  • rate this

    Comment number 339.

    Webboffin - The sad fact is that there's a simple solution - its called systems redundancy and BACKUP POWER - which a company as big as BT is should have been investing in so as not to have to incur these kinds of disruptions for their customers. Bad BT!

  • rate this

    Comment number 338.

    @Matt Why am I being silly?

    Are you saying it's silly to expect a reliable service from the UK's biggest provider of broadband?

    I'm I silly to expect a company the size of BT to have some kind of back up power systems?

    Am I silly to expect to be able to contact BT and see issues on their service status page in the event of an outage?

  • rate this

    Comment number 337.

    Just wait until everyone jumps on The Cloud and them providers start having major failures (like loss of data) because no-one bothered with a local back-up! Eeekkkk!

  • rate this

    Comment number 336.

    I have 2 different dongles on standby.

    I wish they would make headline news of when Virgin goes down, but then the smaller very common break downs of ALL providers are not headline news, but they should be.

    There NEEDS to be a weekly provider chart, based upon maintaining service across whole of UK & outages etc however small in any area result in deterioration in the chart.


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