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BT broadband network suffers technical fault

A technical fault on the BT network left users around the country unable to access broadband and phone services

BT’s broadband network and some phone services have experienced technical difficulties that left users without a service.

Reports of problems first emerged on social media at about 2pm on 2 February.

Service status website Downdetector.co.uk reported a spike in complaints at about 3pm, with about two-thirds of them relating to broadband, and a smaller number to email and phone services.

The outage was reported to be affecting users around the country, with reports coming in from London, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Leicester, London, Manchester and Sheffield, among other locations.

BT’s own website was intermittently unavailable, although when available, its service status website acknowledged issues affecting a large number of dialling code areas, although these may be unrelated to the current problems.

BT’s customer service department confirmed on Twitter that it was experiencing technical difficulties: “Sorry if you’re experiencing network problems. Engineers are on site now. We will keep you updated.”

The telco has since issued a statement to say that most customers experiencing problems have now been reconnected.

"Large numbers of customers have been experiencing temporary issues with their broadband this afternoon. We’ve been working hard to fix the issue and are glad to report that nearly every customer affected is now reconnected approximately two hours after the problem started. We apologise to any affected customers. There is no evidence at this stage to suggest that we were subject to a malicious attack,” said a BT spokesman.

Last month, BT was at the centre of a minor fracas involving mobile operators O2 and EE, which both reported major outages on their networks. At the time, O2  – although not EE – was quick to try to pin the problems on a fault with BT’s mobile backhaul network.

The latest outage comes a day after BT began a major restructuring programme following the closure of its acquisition of EE.

The telco has about eight million broadband customers in the UK, and in the last quarter managed to capture 71% of new broadband customers – about 130,000.

Read more on Telecoms networks and broadband communications

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The reason why we cannot rely on a single monopoly supplier but need a multi-sourced, resilient communications mesh with no single points of failure.
Does Technical Failure include a software bug/failure?
I think we need to demand a proper description of the failure and an explanation of how a Technical Failure can affect Scotland, London and Cornwall all at the same time. Broadband is now to critical to industry to allow such failures.
Every other week, there seems to be news of businesses suffering from outages. Just last week, Twitter suffered an outage and this week BT. Unplanned outages can cost organisations a lot of money and even though it’s unavoidable, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accepted or ignored. The downtime will usually have an impact on different areas of the business but usually they will be a massive impact on brand reputation and loyalty, both short term and long term.

Often, the damage to loyalty and reputation can be difficult to quantify but in many cases it's likely to be greater than the immediate financial loss. Nearly all businesses work hard to set a level of expectation with their customers in terms of the level of service they'll deliver, so if those customers are affected by an outage, they are likely to look elsewhere. Or worse still, express their dissatisfaction through social media channels. Several BT customers have already taken to social media to complain about problems with their internet and landline. The best way to moderate the impact on most business is excellent recovery planning
BT "spluttered" again on Wednesday - also telling me my phone number was not valid when I got back on-line via Vodafone (a mobile hub is my current dual sourcing standby).