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BT wholesale kit crash silences thousands of customers

In Slough, no one can hear you scream

A hardware failure downed thousands of punters connected to BT's network via some of its smaller Openreach providers on Wednesday evening.

Reports via Plusnet, AAISP.net and others suggested that the outage affected many of their customers for around half a day.

Initially a major fibre cut near Slough was blamed, but it was later reported that a hardware fault with a 21CN router was the culprit.

"We still have a substantial number of broadband subscribers who were disconnected around 5.30pm this evening and who are still unable to get back online," wrote Plusnet in one of a series of updates about the outage on its website on Wednesday night (30 March).

"Some ambiguity has emerged as to the true cause of the problem, which may not actually be due to a fibre break in Slough as previously reported.

"One thing we are confident about though, is the fact that the problem is limited to a subset of customers provisioned on BT's IPStream Connect or WBC wholesale networks."

Plusnet recently shifted an unnamed number of its subscribers over to those networks, and as a result many of its customers were hit by the downtime.

BT confirmed to Plusnet that it had fixed the problem in the early hours of Thursday morning (31 March). However, it didn't offer any further detail on what had gone wrong.

The Register asked the company to tell us why so many of BT's Openreach providers' punters lost connection to its networks. At time of writing, it hadn't got back to us with a response.

In not entirely unrelated news, the outage occurred on the eve of Ofcom once again calling on BT to make price cuts for ISPs signed up to its Openreach service. ®

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