North American Network Operators Group

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Re: BT network outage

  • From: Alex Bligh
  • Date: Wed Nov 21 13:05:50 2001


The joy of single provider service.  British Telecom lost most
of its national IP backbone on Tuesday affecting DSL and Dialup
service across multiple ISPs in the UK.  According to news
reports, this affected almost all DSL service in the UK.

What happened to BT?  Is this a unique "feature" of the UK marketplace
or can the same thing happen in the USA?
Their Columbus IP network melted for 6 hours. No real explanation
given yet. One rumour is 'power failure' (how that takes out a supposedly
redundant network with multiple sites is left as an exercize for the
reader). One press reported quoted BT as saying it would take
several days for BT to be able to give a full picture of what
went wrong - place your own interpretation on that.

It is /possible/ to provide DSL without using BT's IP backbone,
but very expensive in terms of initial Capex costs. This ridiculousness
is not duplicated in the US. I suspect it is not restricted
to the UK. In the US the systemic problem
appears to be non-incumbant DLECs used by many ISPs
filing Chapter 11 :-)

A side effect of having to buy DSL from BT appears to be that
as BT refuses to act on end-user line problems outside business
hours, there is little SLA differentiation between DSL ISPs.

Alex Bligh
Personal Capacity