Virgin Media Fibre Break Causes City-Wide Outages

A fiber break in the Virgin Media network has caused outages across London, affecting customers at all levels, including several city borough councils.

The company acknowledged the problem on Twitter, stating that it was “aware of a fibre break” causing a temporary loss of services for customers in London. The company was quick to assure affected customers that the problem had been identified and that engineers were on site and working to restore services.

The company announced that services were restored in the early afternoon, a statement confirmed by the Bromley Council, one of the borough councils affected by the outage. However, the fact that a single fiber break caused widespread outages and interrupted services to borough councils has caused concerns about the company’s network, specifically the design of redundant systems.

A similar incident occurred in June of last year, when a construction worker accidentally cut through a fiber connection in the Virgin network. That error affected over 4,300 customers in South London including many attempting to access borough councils and Sky TV, who were left without services for close to 24 hours.

At that time, several hundred meters of cabling were replaced, and Virgin Media said that the company was working on both temporary and permanent solutions to the issue. Virgin also said that customers contacting the company to notify them of a loss of service would be eligible for refunds per their service contracts.

Virgin Media has had its share of bad press already this week, with a report from the BBC Watchdog showing that the company had failed in its promise to provide superfast broadband services to customers. In some cases, customers received less than 3% of the 200 Mbps promised and paid for.

In an internal communication viewed by the Register, executive sales director Neil Bartholomew said that two primary issues were noted by the BBC Watchdog. The first included customers experiencing broadband speeds slowing during peak times. Others were sales based, where customers were given incorrect information and salespersons failed to ready the required ‘Broadband Honesty Statement’ to new customers.

Bartholomew admitted that Virgin Media had not provided the expected level of service to existing and new broadband customers.

“With the cases Watchdog shared with us, we fell short of the usual high standards we set for ourselves in the clarity of the information and quality of service we provide to our customers.”

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