Some of Virgin Media’s cable broadband customers have been left unable to access a number of popular websites (e.g. Stack Overflow) for approximately two weeks due to the ISPs apparent lack of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with “the network where we think the issue is” (i.e. Internap).
A Virgin Media spokeswoman told The Register yesterday that it was “aware some of our customers are having difficulty” and is now actively “liaising with the network provider to understand what may be causing this specific issue“.
Mark Wilkin, VM’s Support Forum Manager, added (VM Support Forum):
“Also for reference the majority of the internet (excluding dedicated peering connections) still operates on the basis of “you pass my traffic along and I’ll pass yours” agreements that operate on a “handshake” basis. So in this case we don’t have a SLA with the network where we think the issue is.
We’re talking to internap at the moment and we’re also currently attempting to contact stackoverflow.com as well to talk to them about getting this sorted out.”
Stack Overflow, part of the Stack Exchange Network, is a hugely popular question and answer site for professional and enthusiast programmers. The Stack Exchange itself claims to be a fast-growing network of 99 question and answer sites that are typically used by around 3 million people.
It should be said that the issue does not affect everybody, only those connected to certain parts of the operator’s network. In the meantime those wanting to visit Stack Overflow can either continue to view the “Request timed out” message until it’s resolved or simply avoid Virgin’s network with a free web proxy. We haven’t been able to test it ourselves but switching to OpenDNS might also work.