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UPD2 Major Broadband Outage in Northampton UK After Business Park Fire

Tuesday, Sep 24th, 2013 (8:08 am) - Score 5,058

A huge fire that began on Friday morning at the JBJ Business Park on Northampton Road (England), which took place at a PoP near to the Blisworth Telephone Exchange, has resulted in a major loss of local broadband Internet connectivity. It has also affected telecoms services to 16 other exchanges in the region.

The worst affected customers appear to be those whom typically connect via an unbundled (LLU) line supplied via O2 Wholesale, although related problems (e.g. power outages) are known to have impacted several other ISPs.


On top of that the Fire Brigade initially restricted access to the data centre until the fire had been extinguished “due to health and safety concerns“, which means that BT are unable to access the site. But the fire has now been out for several days and yet access remains closed, which is perhaps due to the presence of “hazardous materials“.

Fire Brigade – Incident Update 20/09/2013 Factory Fire Blisworth

JBJ Business Park, Blisworth, 10:42 hours Friday 20th September 2013 – This incident was a well-developed fire in a unit of 8 industrial units, hazardous materials were involved and there was suspected asbestos in the roof.

At its height over 50 firefighters were in attendance, support was received from Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Services. There is extensive damage to over 50% of the unit, the fire is now out, NFRS will be remaining in attendance overnight.

There were no injuries at this incident and whilst neighbouring properties were advised to keep windows and doors closed at the height of the fire due to heavy smoke, there is no further impact or risk to the local community as the fire is now out.

Resources sent include, 8 Pumping Appliances, 2 Specialist Aerial Appliances, 1 Operational Support Unit and Supporting Appliance, 1 Water Bowser and 1 Incident Command Unit.

Apparently BT is currently searching for an alternative way to re-route the affected circuits and restore service but there’s a limit to what can be done while full access is being restricted. Needless to say that O2’s Service Status update makes for some unpleasant reading.

Elsewhere the BE Usergroup reports that customers as far away as Birmingham are also being affected by problems that link back to the fire. Apparently users with a Static IP address can attempt to resolve the problem by changing to a Dynamic IP instead, although doing so will lose your previous address and you’ll also have to factory reset the router (only works for those in Birmingham).

As it stands now the situation is unchanged and nobody can get access.

UPDATE 25th September 2013

It’s now known that the PoP is Level 3’s network facility, which is used by O2 and several other providers, although Level 3 has not been able to commit to a timescale for the fix.

Meanwhile the latest update from O2 states, “We’ve identified a solution that involves re-routing traffic to an existing data centre. We’re continuing to work with our suppliers and partners to build and install additional equipment and cabling to ensure a stable service from this site.” Once again, no timescale is mentioned.

Apparently most connections have already had their traffic re-routed but Level 3 states that “a limited number of customers” are still “experiencing service disruptions“. A small amount of compensation is being organised for those worst affected.

UPDATE 26th September 2013

Sky confirms that around 3,500 customers on BE/O2’s platform have been affected by the fault and “due to the unusual circumstances, we’ve posted a complimentary 3GB wireless internet dongle to see people through until their home broadband is reactivated.” This is not actually all that unusual and Sky have done it before.

Meanwhile O2 Wholesale said that they expect service to be “fully restored by the end of the weekend“.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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