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Major Virgin Media Broadband and TV Outage on South Coast UPDATE2

Thursday, March 5th, 2020 (9:44 am) - Score 8,381

We’re receiving quite a few reports from Virgin Media’s UK cable broadband ISP and TV customers (including business clients – other ISPs will be impacted), specifically those resident along the south coast of England (Dorset, Hampshire etc.), which claim that a major service outage is occurring in that area.

The reports are currently quite sporadic, with some claiming that the issue started at around 11:30pm last night (and it hasn’t been back up since) and most others only spotting the problem since waking up this morning at around 7am. We did attempt to check Virgin Media’s service status page with a few postcodes but it is also faulty and returning a not at all ironic message of “Oops something’s broken.”

Sadly Virgin Media’s Twitter and Facebook pages have yet to be updated with a general statement, although some of their staff have said this in response to individual complaints: “We are aware of an issue affecting services for customers in Southampton and some surrounding areas. We are working to fix the issue as quickly as possible and apologise for any inconvenience” (note: the issue is impacting a much wider area than just Southampton).

A number of other sources have alleged that the problem may be caused by a breakage on two of the operator’s key fibre optic cables for their access network (Entanet points the finger at cables 96f and 160f). On top of that it’s further claimed that this might have even been cut by Virgin Media’s own team during Planned Works – ref: C01096591 (we are trying to verify those reports).

According to some of Virgin Media’s business clients, engineers are at the location and fibre splicing is already taking place. Apparently 2km of new cable will be needed to replace the existing 96f (critical services on the 160f cable should be back online sooner, we hope).

UPDATE 10:01am

Some of the operator’s business clients are confirming that the outage began before midnight last night (11:45pm seems to be an agreed time) and that other ISPs, such as Sky Broadband, are likely to be affected. One has expressed surprise that so many services have been hit by a single point of failure.

The official statement given to us by Virgin Media is sadly identical to the one that their support staff have been repeating above. Meanwhile they’ve yet to put a general notice on their Twitter or Facebook pages.

UPDATE 12:27pm

The impact of the problem is also being felt in parts of Somerset and Wiltshire.

UPDATE 12:48pm

Surprisingly Virgin Media have yet to post a central public update to their social media channels (their service status page also continues to be offline), although we are hearing that some customers are slowly coming back online and there is a community forum post about it.

Sadly this isn’t the first time that Virgin has dropped the ball when it comes to keeping their customers informed about a major outage (or in this case, failing to keep them informed). We also note that their outage appears to be affecting the Southern NHS.

UPDATE 4:49pm

A Spokesperson for Virgin Media has just told ISPreview.co.uk: “The issue impacting services for customers in Southampton and some surrounding areas has been fixed and services have been restored. We apologise for any inconvenience experienced while services were disrupted.”

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
30 Responses
  1. Chris says:

    It is affecting business customers too, not just cable docsis customers in Southampton

  2. Leanne says:

    It is affecting people in Winchester and Dorset- Ferndown – Bournemouth-Working at IT company and phones have been particularly busy where people are complaining of an outage- 4 weeks ago it was talk talk- so just saying it does happen, it is annoying but i’m pretty sure weather has not helped.

  3. Adrian says:

    It is affecting customers in Swindon since after 8am this monring. Cable and mobile. Downtector and twitter are reporting lots of issues. To top it off virginmedia’s own status page is broken.

  4. Bob Dunn says:

    Virgin Media internet went down in BH23 area just after midnight and out ever since.

  5. Ferrocene Cloud says:

    Virgin Media seem to have a big fibre break down south which happened around midnight, may well be related.

    1. Ferrocene Cloud says:

      So apparently I can’t read, definitely seems related to the 96f and 160f break then.

  6. David says:

    Sky has a big warning too about the south east being down when you log in

  7. John says:

    I confirm Virgin broadband been down since 11.30pm last night. Also unable to use status checker or complaints desk. Not the first time this has happened over last 3 months – Virgin Media should be ashamed of this very poor service

  8. Meadmodj says:

    Things happen, any system or network can fail. Surely those that need contingency should pay for contingency particularly businesses.

    1. Ferrocene Cloud says:

      It’s quite scary seeing some of the systems out there that have no resilience.

  9. Andrew says:

    Internet is now back working in the BH12 area as of 12:12 pm

  10. Scott says:

    Yup. Went down 11:45pm for me and still not back up in Southampton. Can’t believe they havent put up a general statement. My partner spent forever trying to fix it not knowing the problem was elsewhere!

    Thanks for making such a concise article. If they did indeed cut the cable themselves I hope someone calls them up on it.

  11. Marcus Tivey says:

    Has been out in Winchester since last night – but came back on at 12:25 Thu 5 March

  12. Graeme Francis says:

    My internet is back since 12:15pm (SO40 area)

  13. Simon W. says:

    Romsey (near Southampton): VM home (cable) broadband now working. 😀
    Website service status page still broken. (Not that it matters now.)

  14. Ben says:

    Any idea where the breakage/these cables are?

  15. Malvern Jones says:

    I also confirm that BBand was down from 00:00 last night. It followed a scheduled maintenance notice where VM had advised that “some disturbance may be experienced”. It seems that areas that are affected include those further up the country who are part of the gigabit roll out. Working from home is unworkable, thank heavens for 4gMobile and land lines. The last thing our company will be doing is moving our Mobiles and Viop to Virgin. Their support this morning may have “added value” to their P&L, with a transfer from ours !. Come on VM, its no good pushing faster broadband if you keep callers waiting 40min+ to be connected to India, only to be promptly cut off ! £8 compensation (if paid) will not cover it !

  16. Valerie says:

    Keeps dropping out and coming back on in the Plymouth area. Been like this since first thing this morning.

  17. Nigel jones says:

    Communication. Valuing customerS Transparency

    Dismal by virgin. Nothing on lines or web. Barely admitting elsewhere
    Sky posted an update immediately

    That’s quite on top of single point of failure?

    Frankly shocking

  18. Meadmodj says:

    VM Broadband products have either 12, 24, 44 or 48 hours service agreements. Up time is promised at 99.9% based on 365 x 24. No one can give a guarantee of 100% and even if this one was self inflicted third party damage is common.

    The issue is that traditional cables had thick sheaths and multiple layered pairs so whilst the outer damage was severe many of the individual circuits continued to work. Going forward up to 32 premises (possibly more) will be fed on a single fibre from the OLT and that itself will be in a multi fibre cable. Those providers taking central feeds more remotely into the access networks such as OFNL to new builds will have more dependant on fewer fibres.

    Thankfully providers like OR, VM, OFNL use proper duct which hopefully will be spotted by any other street civils contractors before any damage gets too great. If providers use simple trenching techniques in the access network then overtime it will be less visible to others and hence vulnerable.

    Fibre brings greater reliability and performance but if it gets damaged intentionally or otherwise the total effect will be greater. If broadband is essential then the terms of service and contingency need to be factored in and choice of provider(s) considered.

    1. Meadmodj says:

      I acknowledge that this was a main data connection within the VM network but the principle is the same. Just because it is a main link don’t assume it will be any more resilient.

  19. Ferrocene Cloud says:

    The 160F has been mostly repaired with some tubes still outstanding, so many services are up. 96F still down.

    You’re welcome on me informing your own customers Virgin.

  20. Ferrocene Cloud says:

    Also Mark, this was done under C01096591. Turns out the splicers cut the wrong fibre!

    1. Ben says:

      Where abouts was the break? Soton area or..?

    2. Ferrocene Cloud says:

      Around there, yes. Not sure 100% because I haven’t been able to find the original planned works notification from VMB, but I could see alarms in Southampton.

  21. Ryan Arbuckle says:

    IT was playing up here in N.Ireland all evening, was never down just intermittent issues

  22. mia says:

    it has been down in Manchester past 9:30 am this morning and still down now at 5pm we are on SKY

  23. Janny says:

    Only two meg download speed And 20 meg upload speed on my favourite 200 contract at the moment this has been since the 4th of March.

    No real help from Virgin as of yet

  24. SymetricalAccess says:

    Wouldn’t be supprised if it was done on purpose because it was cheaper to knock everyone offline to do the work. Not acknowledging it untill it’s fixed is disgusting and unforgivable.

    Virgin media showing their true colours here too as well as with the data breachand their response to that. Exactly why none of us should go near them and why we shouldn’t count their network towards coverage targets.

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