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Damaged undersea cable blamed for UK Net problems

BT, NTL, Telewest hit

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A damaged undersea transatlantic cable is being blamed for causing havoc for Net and phone users in the UK last night.

A number of ISPs are understood to have been hit by the problem, which surfaced (the problem, not the cable) yesterday afternoon at around 4pm.

The cable - which is owned by a consortium of telcos - is believed to have hit a snag (figuratively speaking, of course) somewhere off the French coast. France Telecom, which is responsible for that section of cable, is sending a boat out to examine the damage.

At this stage it's not known exactly what the damage is or what caused it. However, the effects of the incident were felt in the UK last night.

BT has confirmed that some of its voice services were hit by the outage, while NTL blamed the cable problem for downing its Net service - including web browsing, email, ftp and newsgroups - for around eight hours.

The service was back up and running by around 1am today, although the cableco has conceded that some punters may still be suffering problems this morning.

Telewest confirmed that its customers also experienced difficulties accessing email and personal webspace for around four hours. Although it's still investigating the matter, a spokesman acknowledged that the problems could be a result of the damaged cable.

And Tiscali said it was unaffected by the incident, although some of its punters may have found accessing US-based sites slower than usual. ®

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