Virgin Media customers were left without a broadband connection for hours on 29 July, causing significant inconvenience specifically for those who are working from home. This incident is the third outage within two weeks, following the brief 6 July outage and another on 25 June that lasted for up to six hours across different areas in the UK.
UK telecom giant Virgin Media recently suffered widespread outages in different cities across the country last 29 July that has left some 700 people leaving complaints on a third-party website Down Detector.
The areas that experienced downtime according to complaints were London, Bristol, Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, and Glasgow.
This incident is said to have started at about 7 in the morning and peaked sometime before 9 AM.
The complainants were mostly remote employees who are currently working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many customers have aired their annoyance over social media,given that losing connection has more impact now that downtime will cost businesses lost revenues.
One customer even complained that they weren’t able to go online for a day, and they could not access the company’s website to book an engineer.The same sentiment has been voiced by other customers as well.
This 29 July incident is just one of the many instances wherein Virgin Media’s broadband went down for hours.
On 6 July, a similar incident left several customers in Nottingham unable to use the internet for about two hours as the provider experienced another outage.
Downdetector was able to record and aggregate the complaints on social media, which spiked in number after midday. About 77% of the issues refer to connectivity issues via cable internet. Other complaints include problems with TV and the mobile internet, but there is no indication of whether these events are related.
The complainants were mostly from London and Nottingham.However, some customers from the rest of Britain had also chimed in with their complaints. It is the fourth incident in just a matter of weeks starting June.
During the peak hour, around a thousand customers simultaneously lodged their complaints.
Down Detector saw complaints about Virgin Media return to the usual level before 2 PM.
Another outage last 25 June earned the ire of Virgin Media customers, which started from 8 AM and continued on for 1 ½ hour. The company immediately updated its website to warn users that the internet may remain unavailable until the afternoon.
The incident lasted for over six hours in London, leaving thousands of remote workers without connection.
Users from Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, and areas across the British Isles also reported issues, which were all recorded by Down Detector. A total of 905 reports were recorded, which spiked at 9:30 AM.
Around 74% of the issues focused on cable internet, while 17% complained regarding mobile internet. The rest of the reported problems relate to TV.
A spokesperson for the firm apologised for the blunder and informed that broadband services are back online just as the workday was coming to close.
Antony Edwards, software company Eggplant COO, stated that Virgin Media might have been trying the new fibre cables that were installed amid the lockdown to accommodate the rise in internet traffic.
The failure to get back online within an hour may have indicated that the firm’s automated response system did not work, reckons Edwards, who is also an internet infrastructure expert.
Virgin Media services 3.2 million customers, with broadband subscribers reaching the six million mark and counting.
In the earlier months of April and May, Virgin Media customers also experienced downtime, particularly relating to the cable internet connection.
The outage incidents come as providers in the UK implemented several measures to support the increase in internet traffic following the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Industry experts and internet users have expressed worry that the providers would struggle to provide the connectivity needed during the pandemic. However, meltdowns of horrific scale have not materialised, thanks to the resilience of UK providers.