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NTL blackout hits 54,000 customers

Software fault blamed

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NTL customers in the South of England were without cable services last night. Users in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire began to experience problems with NTL's voice and data services from around 8pm last night. Services disappeared completely between 10pm last night and 10am this morning. The cable company today blamed a software fault caused by too many people trying use its services. Which must be a comfort to the multitudes of frustrated customers who found the only support number constantly engaged during the fault. An NTL representative said there had been a problem with one of the GC Marconi switches. "There were too many calls for the switch to handle," he said. People were unable to get through to NTL's 0800 number because the software then automatically started call gapping. The representative insisted the whole event was a "fairly rare occurrence", dismissing it as "not a massive event". He said the equipment was doing what it should have done, but that similar incidents should not arise in the future because a software upgrade had been put in place. Although it was reported that as many as 500,000 people suffered from the disrupted services, NTL maintained that its number users in the two regions was only 54,000. NTL has over one million residential customers and around 40,000 business customers in the UK. ®

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