A 20-minute power cut may not sound much, but when you are BT it is enough to wreak havoc for hours and wipe out thousands of companies’ broadband and telephone services and prevent millions of bank customers accessing their online accounts.
The outage, which lasted from 07:55am to 08:17am yesterday, has raised fresh concerns that, with so much business now being done online, the UK’s Internet achitecture is groaning under the pressure.
In one fell swoop subscribers in parts of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland had all been affected, while some online banking customers at Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest, Halifax, Ulster Bank, Santander, HSBC, Nationwide and Royal Bank of Scotland were unable to log into their accounts.
The London Internet Exchange (Linx) – one of the world’s biggest Internet nodes – blamed the issue on Equinix Telecity’s Harbour Exchange data centre.
A Linx spokesman told the BBC: “We take any outage very seriously. We will be having very serious conversations with Telecity about how this happened.”
However, he denied the incident had exposed the vulnerability of the Internet’s architecture in the UK. “This was not the internet stopping – there are other routes for traffic to flow, including our own. Over 80% of our traffic continued to flow and it immediately started to recover even before the power was restored,” he said.
A BT spokeswoman said: “We’re sorry that some BT and Plusnet customers experienced problems accessing some Internet services. Around 10% of customers’ Internet usage was affected following power issues at one of our Internet connection partners’ sites in London. The issue has now been fixed and services have been restored.”
However, it has been reported that many BT Broadband and Plusnet customers are facing a second day without Internet access, as the company, and its competitors, struggle with further power issues.
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