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UK hit by BT broadband network snafu

'Major service outage' floors evening surfers

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Hundreds of thousands of UK broadband users are thought to have struggled to access the net last night following a major glitch on BT's network.

All the UK's ISPs - including BT's own broadband ISP - that operate high-speed internet services from BT Wholesale were hit by the "major service outage" yesterday evening. It appears that software problems on three servers led to congestion on BT's network creating a logjam of people looking to connect to their ISP.

People already logged on when outage happened were unaffected by last night's outage.

Problems started at around teatime yesterday evening and continued into the early evening just as many people were coming home from school and work looking to log onto the net.

AOL UK reported a spike in calls to its call centre with people unable to log on to their broadband service.

"We estimate that around 100,000 people would have tried to get on and couldn't," an AOL spokesman told El Reg, explaining that the downtime could have lasted anywhere between a few minutes or up to a couple of hours.

It is currently investigating the incident.

Wanadoo UK was also hit. At this stage it's too early to say how many people were unable to log on last night but accepted it is one of the busiest times of the day.

A Wanadoo spokesman told us: "We were affected as were most ISPs."

In a statement BT Wholesale apologised for last night's problems.

"On 29th November 2005, broadband users may have experienced authentication issues caused by software problems increasing congestion. The issue was identified at 16:30. Any customers already logged on should not have been affected.

"BT restored full service across the platform at 19:30. BT is undertaking a full investigation of this issue and regrets any inconvenience that this may have caused service providers and end users during this period," it said. ®

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