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UK BT Broadband ISP Customers Hit by Cable Theft and USA Peering Woes

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 (8:15 am) - Score 1,540

BT’s national UK telecoms and retail ISP network has been hit by a double whammy of problems. A suspected cable theft is currently causing service outages across parts of the country, while a peering problem has hindered access to some website and triggered higher than normal levels of packet loss.

At this stage little is known about the cable theft, which occurred during the early hours of Monday morning, and BT tends not to say much until after an investigation has been conducted. But we do know that a significant number of the operators customers, which includes those of third party ISPs, are currently being affected by a loss of telephone and or broadband services.

The resulting service loss appears to have had a wide impact and is affecting telephone exchanges right across England and Wales, with the bulk being in the south and midlands. The situation follows on from a separate theft of copper telephone cable over one week ago, which took out services in Elmstead Market (Essex).

Telephone Exchange Areas Affected by the Cable Theft

Theydon Bois – 01992
York – 01904
Hammersmith – 02087
Cheddington – 01296
Euston – 0201, 0203, 0207
Holmewood – 01246
Camaes Bay – 01407
Shoreham – 012734
Llanfairfechan – 01342
Copthorne – 01342
Aylesbury – 01296
Wrexham – 01798
Garvagh – 02829

As if that wasn’t bad enough then BT Retail’s network, including those of several other UK ISPs, are currently suffering from a mix of major packet loss and high latency (lag). This appears to be the result of a peering problem with a third party network.

The situation, which is referenced on BT’s community forums and started last Friday (5th October), also resulted in customers being unable to access some online services and a large number of websites in the USA (plus a few in the UK). The problem itself is believed to have originated with AboveNet (Zayo) in the US.

The good news is that the peering issue appears to be on the mend, although many customers remain frustrated that it took BT three or four days before their service status page began to reflect it. Still BT is in good company, with O2 (BE Broadband) and Virgin Media both having suffered similar issues over the past few months.

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