back to article Virgin Media network collapses nationwide

The Virgin Media cable network collapsed overnight, leaving up to three million people without internet access for several hours in the crucial final shopping days before Christmas. Both broadband and digital TV services took a lie down just after 10pm on Monday. Virgin Media says "some customers nationally" were affected. VM …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    DHCP

    I sat there for a couple of hours last night watching my cable modem lock the up & down stream and then fail to get a reply from the Virgin/NTL DHCP servers.

    hen I necked a decent bottle of red and went to bed early.

    So the Mrs has the propper hump with NTL

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Can you also ask them

    why they haven't told the same millions of people about STM. nobody knows nothing about it and are calling the support phone number up at a cost of 25p a minute and 10p connection charge to find out why their speeds are suddenly cut!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    The man in the data centre....

    All down to a broken fibre (so i am told), and ntl:telewest engineers couldn't locate it all night.

  4. Kenny Millar

    Would this be the same Virgin...

    ...that is due to Give birth on the 25th? I thought I saw some wise men heading towards Bethlehem from the east?

    Go easy on her, it can't be hard carrying the Son of God and trying to maintain the countries premiere ISP at the same time....

  5. Matthew Wright
    Thumb Down

    the slowly dying broadband

    9pm: I was getting 40kbytes/sec out of my 20mbit service... typical Virgin I thought.

    9:30pm: Down to 5Kbytes

    10pm: Modem couldn't even lock on to the network !

    I do have to wonder why I still pay them for a supposed premium service ?!?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Loss of Virgin?

    Still had TV but no on demand and broadband so we went to bed early!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Worst customer service ever

    I've been trying to get a problem sorted with my cable connection for over a month. I eventually gave up waiting for promised call backs that never happened. I've switch and thank GOD! I'm now with someone who actually gives a damn - I'm paying for the service I'm receiving (rather than paying for something I'm not getting). Wild horses could drag me back to virgin media - I think I'd rather stick a fork in my eye.

  8. Evilmonkey

    Its their own doing...

    This happens to be caused by a routing fault which in turn is caused by the fact that NTL unqualified staff administer 90% of the network. you wont get an honest answer out of them.

  9. Andre Carneiro
    Thumb Down

    Virgin does it again, eh?

    Good thing that their service has been so unreliable lately that I got a backup ADSL connection. So when it died last night I still had 3MBit to play with. Shame that it had to get to this, huh?

    I'm sure once their new super-duper-hyperfast-fantastic 50MBit service gets rolled out none of this will ever happen again. ;)

  10. Kenny Millar

    re: DHCP

    Nice one. You couldn't get any joy from the Virigin, so you went to bed with the wife instead - no wonder she took the hump!

  11. W

    Fine in Glasgow.

    No probs with the Bridgeton exchange in Glasgow last night.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Service getting worse

    When I took out NTL broadband almost 6 years ago it was very very fast. Even at the limited speeds of the time. Now, 6 years on, my 4MB connection is slower than my earlier 1MB connection speeds.

  13. tim wright
    Thumb Down

    hope they can get it up before they take it down again

    Received this yesterday from them

    "Dear customer,

    From time to time we need to undertake maintenance to our e-mail services

    to ensure their smooth operation.

    Our next scheduled maintenance work will commence from Thursday 20th

    December at 22:00 and run for up to 16 hours.

    During this work you will not be able to access your Virgin Media e-mail

    via your e-mail software (e.g. Outlook Express) or Webmail."

    so no confirmatory emails for my last-minute web shopping spree

  14. Adam
    Thumb Down

    re: The man in the data centre....

    I doubt they only have one fibre that links everything together surly an ISP would have several connnections to everything

  15. Louis Cowan
    Unhappy

    Not fine in Glasgow

    I had problems in Croftfoot last night, and for once it wasn't anything to do with the neighbours in Castlemilk!

  16. Peter Redding

    Modem Frequency/DHCP

    My modem has been playing up for several days now and technical support told me it was because the starting frequency of my modem was wrong. I changed it as per their instructions but it changed itself back. I did it again and it worked for a while but not through my router. I restarted the modem and everything was okay again for about two days but then last night the frequency changed itself back again. The modem log mentions something about losing DHCP.

    Anyone else having similar trouble? Just wondering if "my" problem was actually their problem after all.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Edinburgh affected too

    Was back on before midnight though.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    phonelines too

    Aswell as internet they also lost their customer support line, fault lines, service status and even the premium rate support line - all unreachable - giving no way to know if the problem was local or national, serious, or about to come back up any second.

    I bet they are kicking themselves now - they missed out on a fortune in support line call charges last night.

  19. Dan
    Gates Horns

    Business as usual

    Well at least that explains why my wife kept saying "unplug the modem and reboot it" and I kept growling back "I am, and besides whose the techie here grrrr"

    I did tell her it wasn't the modem and was NT-Hell. Maybe it will fix my connection dropping in the evenings at random as its been doing for the last two weeks.

    P.S. Need a Branson piccie

  20. Rob
    Go

    What they didn't say...

    ...is that the maintainance was probably to upgrade the network to the 50Mbit.

    (by the way that was hearsay on my part, don't take it as gospel)

  21. Rob
    Thumb Down

    They also turned their phones off.

    After fiddling around for while releasing & attempting to renew leases etc I thought I'd give them a call. 151 got "We are unable to connect your call" and 150 gave the number unobtainable continuous beep.

    I tried 100 (from a VM landline) and got the BT operator, who said that I wasn't the first person to mention this...

  22. Anigel

    fine here

    no problems and a decent steady 20mbps all night long

  23. Thomas Jolliffe

    The joys...

    It was exceptionally slow all evening, so I was suspicious, but thought it was just my wireless playing up. Naturally though, it went down, the router started getting a 192.168.100.10 IP and the modem logs told a tale of woe. It came back up half an hour later, though...then went down again, in a slightly more worrying fashion (the modem appeared not to operate at all - the router wasn't being assigned any IP whatsoever). Looking at the logs on the thing talks of software upgrade files and it just hanging onto the end of an unresponsive network. Not good.

    If there's one thing I can say about cable, it's that when stuff goes wrong for me it does so catastrophically. The last time we had a problem was a couple of years back when some idiot with a JCB went through a rather expensive fibre somewhere in East Leeds (or so I'm told) - not exactly their fault, though it did take out TV, internet, phone...AKA everything. But as I said, not their fault.

    Even this problem last night didn't really bother me, if I'm honest - as I said, it's a rare occurrence round here. What really grated with me was the fact that both the 'Service Status' and 'Faults' telephone lines returned 'Your call could not be connected' and 'Customer Services' was engaged. Yes, ENGAGED. How on earth can customer services for a multi-billion pound corporation be ENGAGED?!

    Let me guess, the same people who screwed up last night are responsible for the incoming call routing as well.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Good and bad

    Well, my Virgin broadband went down overnight (telly is always flakey), but it was OK this morning while I was surfing around looking for good ADSL and satellite TV packages to switch to :)

  25. suburbiaboy

    Simple fix for me...

    The article mentions that an update just caused an issue with modems/stbs...

    Sounds correct to me as I just rebooted the modem and all was fine, connection back up and running.

  26. Tawakalna
    Paris Hilton

    not the first time..

    ..Virgin/NTL do this with frequency - I was setting up a mate's a couple of weeks ago and there was nothing in the pipe, eventually rang Virgin only to be told "we are being havenning no service" which also included their tech support but no loss there I s'pose - considering that they're cr*p.

    (but not as bad as Sky or as lackadaisical and uncaring as BT - but they're all in fookin' India so what do you expect?)

    but where's the Paris Hilton angle?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Thanks Virgin

    Good excuse to read a book instead

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    4am in India!!

    I called up to see if the IVR would tell me when I'd be likely to get back on-line. No message and 30 mins later I got through to their Indian call centre, apparently no problem.......nice!!

    I then asked to speak to a supervisor, as there was obviously an issue and I was told "It's 4am in the morning therefore I'm going to struggle to find one" .............EXCELLENT customer service, not my fault it's in India!

    Sorry......should I have gone back to bed and got up in the middle of the night to ring them at a decent hour!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Shell

    Edinburgh

    Yeah I'm in Edinburgh too. Around 21:30 I got kicked off World of Warcraft, and had a life for an hour. Because I'm all so Web2.0 (yeah), I connected to Virgins site via an iPhone to get a status update... which wasn't updated. The number on their site also reported "this number has not yet been activated".

    @ Dan

    Had a similar conversation with my wife...

  30. Adam

    hmm! I smell lies

    "According to VM's rep, the maintenance process knocked out DHCP address assignments (leases) for some of its servers, which in turn caused IP addresses to be renewed en masse. No word yet on what the routine maintenance was."

    But ive the same ip address as before..

  31. Steve Sutton

    Never forget...

    ....it's not "Virgin Media" it's "NTL"

  32. George

    Where?

    "Most of the problems occurred in the North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands"

    Hmm - well just north of Reigate it was out from around 9.30pm to midnight!

  33. Rusty D

    Bristol also affected

    My friend and I live in different parts of Bristol, but both lost our broadband connection yesterday evening (not sure what time). The TV seemed to be fine though.

  34. Damien Jorgensen
    Gates Halo

    Crazy

    Well Virgin is anything but the Premium service provider. They now have an ace TV Channel with the junk that Sky didnt want, they have a fibre network which is run by monkeys and they have the customer service skills of a company going out of business.

  35. glenn Kelly
    Jobs Halo

    Customer support open from 8am to midnight...NOT!!!

    After loosing my broadband at 9.30 last night, I decided to wait a while to see if it came back on.

    By 11.30, I still had no connection. So I decided to call the 151 number from my landline.

    "Hello and thank you for calling Virgin Media. We are here to help you between 8am and midnight........All our line are now closed" (or words to that effect). Note that this was at 11.30!!

    I was able to leave a message.

    Oh, and the cable box at the end of our road is missing its lid. Has been for 2 weeks. This has been reported but no one has been out to fix it, and I can see that all the cables have already been pulled by some hooded oik! I reported it again yesterday...hmm..

  36. James Le Cuirot
    Happy

    I'm not complaining

    So it went down for a few hours, shit happens. This is the first serious outage I've seen with them in 6 months. I didn't think it was this widespread but still. I just shrugged my shoulders and joined my girlfriend in bed. =P

  37. Steve

    @AC: STM?

    So what's STM then?

  38. Barry
    Alert

    Poor network design/management?

    Wasn't the initial (military) idea behind network design/protocols/routing that the network (as a whole) would survive in the event of direct nuclear attacks on a routing node? I seem to remember DARPA being involved at some point. Someone remind me.

    So, given there hasn't been a catastrophic nuclear attack on the VM network, is it safe to assume that it doesn't handle routing failure well?

    Don't get me started on Virgin Media.

    Worse thing I ever did was sign up with ADSL from Virgin Media.

    Best thing I ever did was pay the £50 "exit fee" to leave and find a decent ISP.

  39. Clovis
    Paris Hilton

    A sense of proportion?

    "Virgin Media network collapses nationwide ... leaving up to three million people without internet access for several hours in the crucial final shopping days before Christmas"

    I'm still struggling to work out if El Reg thinks this was a big deal or not. No internet access! For several hours! In those CRUCIAL final shopping days before Christmas!

    Nope, still can't tell, even though I'm a Virgin 'customer' myself. (And is that 'up to three million people' like Virgin's 'up to 3 Mbps' or what?) Meanwhile, in other news, thousands of people were dying. No Britons were thought to be involved. And finally, a hilarious talking dog...

  40. Daniel Bennett
    Unhappy

    AHA!

    Thats what happened!

    Been resetting my modem and router for half an hour before I gave up.

    Ah well.. shit happens.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Excellent service

    Just the north eh?

    Well in Bournemouht the "Broadband" went down aroung 9pm but came back up just after midnight and the telephone number for their status line was unobtainable. I finally got through to the status line by ringing the fault line.

    Never mind I'm sure they'll reimburse us all.

    I spent the time watching a recording of the Gadget Show which interestingly mentioned broadband speed again ...

  42. Mike
    Happy

    Not all of Edinburgh affected

    Had no problems at all, although I did notice the Online light on my V box flashing. Everything was still working OK though.

    Apparently I'm one of the few who hasn't noticed any drop in service from blueyonder to Virgin. Lucky me! I still hate Branson, though.

  43. Dave

    Did I miss something?

    Looking at my cable modem log it appears to have been mildly upset by something last night, including failing a software update. However, as I've had both an ADSL line and a cable line for some time, I didn't really notice anything wrong because if service did hiccup at any point it would have continued via the other link. No complaints from the TV watcher in the house either, so quite possibly we missed out.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    The reason that they'r called Virgin

    is that WE are the ones being screwed. :)

  45. Matthew Kubicki

    Virgin support fun

    I tried the 150 number to be greeted with the dead line tone. Without the internet i couldn't look up the service status number so i started doing 15# random dialing.

    151 -dead

    152 - dead

    153 -dead

    154 - business support

    155 -international operator "crap sorry"

    Went back to 154 it asked for a pin tapped in a random number of ones, it said something else i pressed one, then it gave me the business support menu! I got through to a real person in minutes who told me all about the trouble, then i went to bed as she said no ETA!

    We were down from 9:20pm till after 1am, still on the same IP making the DHCP thing seem unlikely.

  46. Khyle Westmoreland
    Thumb Down

    Yeah, and we're still out!

    Swansea went down from about 9pm to 9:30, when the whole area came back up. Then about 15 mins later our modem went down again and STILL hasn't come back up yet (12:50 the next day). Rest of the area's fine though.

    Wouldn't be a problem except I'm not going to be in the house again until mid Jan and my housemates wouldn't have a clue what to do if they called CS!

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: re: The man in the data centre....

    Of course they have more than one fibre link, but if a fibre to a primary POP is backhoe'd etc, then you have major issues. If said POP is a major peering point, then you have even more major issues. If your not even sure where the fibre was damaged, then your fsck'ed!

    The service loss wasn't a 'no connection' problem, but a routing problem with core routers playing silly buggers because something somewhere had gone seriously wrong. We are a medium ntl:telewest customer with around 50+ links via them (ranging from 2Mb p2p circuits up to 100Mb LL connections and then up to 1Gb circuits), with even more circuits resold via us - and the explanation we got was a damaged fibre that the engineers couldn't locate.

  48. Emo

    Fine after 10 mins

    My blueyonder cut out around 9:30, ten mins later it was back up and running fine :)

    TV on Demand was flaky all day which is annoying when you want to watch Peep Show.

    All ok now thou :)

  49. Cameron Colley

    That explains it...

    I had wondered why I lost my precious connection to the world last night -- kept trying until 03:00 and finally gave up.

    Spare a though for those of us who can't even threaten to leave Beardy Cable because our phone lines were last upgraded before the war, so ADSL providers can only give dial-up speeds. Seems BT want us to use some other phone provider and ISP.

  50. Grunth0s
    Thumb Down

    More of the same...

    I've been an NTL customer for about 6 years now... only a few minor teething problems early on.... and a good service for most of it...

    Now, since VM are on the case... things are going steadily downhill... Not only did I lose my broadband last night for several hours (trust me... I was trying to get back online well after midnight!), but that was the second time in 3 days that I had lost service for an extended period.

    As I work from home... this costs me an awful lot of money...

    At least the other day, I managed to get through to one of the script readers in India... last night the broadband support number was out of service, and 150 just resulted in an engaged tone...

    I finally got through to someone at about 1am who advised me to wait an hour, and if the connection hadn't re-established itself in that time... to unplug the modem for a couple of hours, and try again :(

    Fortunately, it was back up and running this morning, so I didn't have to do the three hour drive to the office to get some work done.... but I am now on the lookout for a reliable provider, as this is now getting ridiculous.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the tale of 2 lines

    Here in Nottingham we have 2 lines coming into my (shared) house. The line that used to be ntl was fine, but the line that VM put in was affected!

    If any one can explain how 2 lines connected to the same kerb-side box on a small street can be plugged into 'different' parts of the network?

  52. A J Stiles
    Linux

    DHCP ..... says it all

    Seriously, what do you expect if you go for a provider who use DHCP to assign IP addresses?

    You *need* a static IP address. Otherwise, how can you keep nameserver records up to date? What happens if your IP address changes while someone's cached copy is still valid?

    You wouldn't put up with your telephone number changing every few days. Why do you put up with it for your IP address?

  53. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Stop

    Not just...

    North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands... South East Hampshire as well.

    This is happening far to often with Virgin these days and I was going to switch to another provider but to be honest they are all the same, as are the costs.

    Best of bad bunch me thinks.

  54. Andy Tyzack
    Thumb Up

    people need to get lives

    Big deal, virgin media died for a day.

    Ive been with telewest since they released broadband at a mere 512k. Its gone wrong twice in about 4 years, now id say thats pretty damned good.

    People such as Anonymous Coward looking at switching providers cos he couldnt get on-line, needs to get his head slapped round a bit and then some

    Its broadband people, its not gonna cause the end of all life on earth cos u couldnt go shoppin on amazon. Shit happens

    DEAL WITH IT PEOPLE, ITS ONLY BROADBAND!!!

    rant over

  55. Sam

    North??

    East London out as well. Can't even lie well, can they?

  56. Rob Crawford
    Unhappy

    Not just NW England

    Northern Ireland also got hit with this outage.

    After 10 minutes I noticed that they where handing out a DHCP lease of 192.168.100.10, I had assumed it was a failed assignment, but windows managed to list

    Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.100.1

    DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.100.1

    Implying that there was something out there

    Even if this address had been useable, the lack DNS servers put paid to that.

    It wouldn't have been so bad but all the VM numbers where unobtainable !

  57. Jusme
    Linux

    A title is required.

    Not the first time either (though last time there was a power outage across half of Manchester so maybe not their fault that time).

    Last night...

    [root@fw01 ~]# while ifconfig eth0 | grep -c '192.168.100.10' > /dev/null; do sleep 30; date; ifdown eth0; ifup eth0; ifconfig eth0 | grep 'inet addr:'; done

    Go to bed...

    This morning...

    ....

    Tue Dec 18 02:03:31 GMT 2007

    Determining IP information for eth0... done.

    inet addr:192.168.100.10 Bcast:192.168.100.255 Mask:255.255.255.0

    Tue Dec 18 02:04:06 GMT 2007

    Determining IP information for eth0... done.

    inet addr:192.168.100.10 Bcast:192.168.100.255 Mask:255.255.255.0

    Tue Dec 18 02:04:53 GMT 2007

    Determining IP information for eth0... done.

    inet addr:192.168.100.10 Bcast:192.168.100.255 Mask:255.255.255.0

    Tue Dec 18 02:05:31 GMT 2007

    Determining IP information for eth0... done.

    inet addr:192.168.100.10 Bcast:192.168.100.255 Mask:255.255.255.0

    Tue Dec 18 02:06:14 GMT 2007

    Determining IP information for eth0... done.

    inet addr:154.106.93.26 Bcast:255.255.255.255 Mask:255.255.252.0

    [root@fw01 ~]#

  58. will kennedy

    ....The wife

    .... 9:32 connection dies....

    Check all cables etc, reboot PC

    This seems wierd, or is it just me?

    (Chorus)

    Reboot Modem,

    Reboot Router,

    talk to the wife!

    as i have no computer :(

    Connection dead, ill ask the wife!

    Your laptop dear? is it alive?

    Chorus:

    Lets have a cuddle lets watch the telly,

    But my net is not working, got pains in my belly

    Chorus:

    I blame the cat, i blame your sister

    I scream goddam Virgin and boll***s to Vista

    Chorus:

    Those two V's are the bain of my life

    Im of to bed to cuddle teh wife

  59. Chris Cheale

    Died on me in the Midlands

    Internet connection went down at about 9:30 last night and was still off when I went to bed at about 11... still to be fair, it's the first time I've lost my connection since I joined Virgin (and it was Telewest then) over a year and a half ago.

    I was with Orange DSL before (Freeserve before the rebrand) =\

    Actually, they went downhill after the rebrand.

    @Grunth0s - if you're working from home, get a business connection at least you've got some comeback then (and possibly a minimum SLA). Virgin Media isn't really suitable for professional use; the lack of a static IP shafts it - the business arm is still NTL:Telewest.

  60. Adam

    re: re: re: The man in the data centre....

    surly they would have alternitive links/fail over espically if its such a major point of presence? In work ive a dedicated EES100 between two sites and if that fails ive a 2/2 SDSL link to try and keep things up.

  61. Red Bren
    Paris Hilton

    @Clovis

    "I'm still struggling to work out if El Reg thinks this was a big deal or not."

    Do you also send letters to Heat magazine bemoaning their lack of coverage of the Iraq war?

    From a UK IT perspective, Yes, this is a big deal. Admittedly, it hasn't caused the millions of deaths that war and poverty cause every day, but it's very rare that IT is directly responsible for millions of deaths. If you want reportage on the human condition, there are plenty of sites out there for you. This site is for reporting IT/Tech/Science/Paris Hilton stories!

  62. Steve Hill
    Flame

    Re: DHCP ..... says it all

    I'm sorry but you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

    Using DHCP doesn't mean you're using dynamic addresses - DHCP servers can be configured to hand out static addresses. Using DHCP to configure servers is pretty common since it allows you to easily readdress the network or change stuff like name server addresses without having to individually reconfigure many servers.

  63. Andy ORourke
    Alien

    What is STM?

    I think the reader was probably refering to Subscriber Traffic Management (STM) which Virgin have implimented in order to manage traffic on their network (stop those pesky peer to peer transfers!). This could restrict your upload and download speeds between 4pm and 2am, 7 days a week.

    See the current T&C's at http://abcde.co.uk/virginmedia/stm.html

    As for 1 fibre cut being responsible, Pah! IMHO

  64. Steve

    @Adam

    Nothing surprising about getting the same IP address back after a DHCP outage. If the lease is still valid (maybe 12 or 24 hours?) the server should respond to your DHCP request with the same address you had before.

  65. Adam

    Re: DHCP ..... says it all

    Agreed,

    I have my servers setup with a static IP, but just incase someone plays with the network settings ive also a DHCP reservation in for each NIC on each server with the same address.

  66. MadDog
    Thumb Up

    Liars...But I'm not bitter!!

    Down in Hemel, Luton, Stevenage

    And it was down for longer than a few minutes - try most of the night

    But it's probalby the 2nd or 3rd outage I've had in 5 years (that I'm aware of) so I'm not going to go running to find another ISP, not the trauma my mate had trying to get a BT line installed

  67. ClammyLammy
    Thumb Up

    Barred numbers

    Even if their support lines had been up and running I couldn't have phoned them anyway... 0906 numbers are barred from standard VM land lines!

    Way to go Virgin!

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: re: re: re: The man in the data centre....

    I'm pretty sure (ok maybe not that sure) that Virgin Media would have had alternate routes. That doesn't stop the systems around that (typically never used except during outages like this) from either not cutting over properly or worse, shafting other pieces of the network as the never used and never tested backup behaviour gets to run wild.

  69. Test Man
    Thumb Down

    Virgin - rubbish

    ADSL was exceptionally poor at the weekend, slower than dial-up. Before that it's just been poor. Was fine last night (South East London) though, played Burnout Paradise demo online till 11pm-ish. However, I still asked for my MAC code this morning.

    ADSL24 or Plusnet - here I come.

  70. David Neil
    Flame

    Minor points, but still

    DHCP - saves them money and they can stick a 'do not run a server' addendum in the TOC's

    Working from home - You get what you pay for - if you need a business SLA pay for one - you might not get your service back any quicker but you can at least stand a chance of claiming compensation.

    Quit glad I went for an early night, didn't even know it had been down 'shrug'

  71. Spleen

    "Routine maintenance"

    For NTL/Virgin Media this kind of "maintenance" is pretty "routine".

    Thank God they were too incompetent to even give us a line in our flat, so after several weeks we told them to f off and got BT instead. Better a few weeks of no broadband than a year of this sort of service.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Just back after 16hrs down

    Worst ever outage since beginning of Blueyonder. Virgin Media Customer service - plenty of fluffies and sparklies but no substance - treats all customers as morons whereas these seem to be mainly in its (premium rate) contact centre.

    Are you listening Branson! You wouldn't put up with this level of service, so WHY SHOULD WE?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    wow

    For once not a word about Plus.net wow

  74. Robert
    Flame

    Northern Ireland Virgin Media down

    My XL large Virgin Media connection went down at 9.30pm last night and wasnt back on until 4am this morning. So I think Virgin Media may well be talking out of their backside when they say he problem was limited to Yorkshire and the Midlands, as you can there has been folk in Scotland right down to Bristol and here in Northern Ireland on the very edge of their network is was dead too.

    I wish they would just say look we are sorry we made a mistake what said mistake was and why it wont or shouldnt happen again, but no they will just tell everyone the same unbelivable bull as per usual.

  75. wibbilus maximus
    Boffin

    DHCP

    The fact that your IP address hasn't changed is NOT an indication of a lie from NTL, sorry VirginMedicNeeded, sorry VirginMedia (get it right in a minute (Or is that their line?)).

    Anyway, as i was saying, the IP address you have assigned is matched to the MAC address of the device connected to your cable modem and it has a lease of at least a week last time i checked. (Change your MAC address and you get a different IP address, reconnect the original MAC address and you'll get the original IP)

    The excuse given though would not cause the disconnection for the extensive period. In fact, if they had turned off the DHCP server it wouldn't make a difference to anyone already connected. Therefore, they had a pretty serious system outage last night and they're not talking!!

    Virgins keep their mouths closed as well it seems!

  76. mad clarinet
    Thumb Up

    Ah ha

    I wondered what it was - I lost the connection and one of the lights on my cable box disappeared. Several reboot of the cable box and my unix firewall/router (as well as some testing from said firewall) later I decided to have an early night and see if it worked today (not checked yet as at work).

    I think this is the second problem I've had this year with Virginmedia - not bad at all compared to the trouble some of my colleagues have had with their ISP's. Luckily I had already done my online shopping (but may do some more tonight)

  77. archie lukas
    Coat

    Virgins communication, a fine example to us all

    My connection was okay at 7pm, then dead all night and today

    I rang the helpful Virgin status phone number from work.

    After 5 mins of pressing buttons, I was transferred to a different but scratchy voice (worn out methinks from overuse), that told me how wonderful they were and to check the website.

    Where do they think i got the phone number from.

    Virgins best form of communication is none communication; tell the buggers nothing and then they have nothing to argue about.......

    Insert loud expletive here....................

  78. Evilmonkey

    no backup..

    They dont have backups or alternative routes! they mixed the ex-TW and ex-NTL networks between only certain areas such as Preston and leeds but it doesnt work, why I hear you ask!! well simply put they dont know how to! Its what you get when you let underqualified chimps smear poo all over your expensive Cisco hardware!

  79. Antony King
    Stop

    Finally back up

    My line went down at 9:20 last night and came back at 1:30pm this afternoon. Hardly a short outage, especially as I work from home and rely on the internet for just about everything I do. It's the first long outage for a while though. So much for it affecting the north - I'm in deepest Kent !

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Fibre breakz

    I'm loving all these armchair support comments, you can tell who has never been near fibre before. Fibre breaks are difficult to diagnose especially as they are rare and will be well down on the check list, you are more likely to be looking at the network device and its fibre cards.

    I can imagine the engineer scratching his head as he/she brushes past the cable and everything starts working again, then a few minutes later it goes again! While some other tech is logged into it and both blaming each other as it goes up and down! What did you do, err nothing, what did you do, err nothing.. LOL

    Anyhow.. its good that some people found life outside their 19" screen if only for a few hours...

  81. Mark

    @Andy Tyzack

    So since it's "just broadband" can the virgin media customers get a month's subscription back? After all, they don't need a profit *every* month, do they.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    indeed

    Loved Telewest, never had a problem. Soon as Virgin took over it's been nothing but disconnections, slow speeds and numerous billing errors. I also unfortunately was forced to obtain a life after being kicked from World of Warcraft last night - on my birthday no less! Damn you Virgin!

  83. Thomas Swann
    Thumb Down

    Ah so that's what happened my broadband last night...

    "Most of the problems occurred in the North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands."

    And Northern Ireland.

    "and the majority of affected customers regained their service shortly after midnight."

    If by 'shortly' he means 'several hours'.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Bad Timing

    We got Virgin TV, phone and internet installed yesterday morning. Oops!

  85. Rob Crawford

    DHCP & Servers

    DHCP : while it is normal to create reserved addresses for networked printers and machines dedicated to particular tasks (such as apps that require holes in the firewall for example), even then these would be on fairly long leases.

    I have not come across placing servers with core services on DHCP in many years of working in data centres, banks & publishing )even with reserved addresses and long leases.)

    Perhaps if you are running farms of rendering stations or search boxes where particular machines are incredibly generic or very interchangeable it may just about be justifiable.

    Why ? simply because of the DHCP server(s) go Frankenstein you are in a world of unhappiness, for almost no benefit.

    You want to move a server then change the DNS entry

    Having experienced a developer plugging in a laptop that was running a DHCP server into a user vlan, I wouldn't place any severs on DHCP ever.

    Life is just too short, even HMRC don't deserve that

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hello you!

    <obvious hyperbole>

    If Virgin Media could only bring themselves to move a tenth of their titanic advertising budget to support and upgrades, we'd all be chugging away on 100Mb connections by now.

    </obvious hyperbole>

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How it works...

    That little cable in your house runs all the way to the data center with several thousand customers hanging of it. At the data center, more cables come in, each of them with several thousand customers connected to them. These cables go into a UBR (the routers the failed, I guess). All the equipment attached to the cables (set top boxes, cable modems, PC behind the modems etc) obtain ip addresses via DHCP from servers located in the data center behind the UBR. Normally, the DHCP requests would be spread over a period of time ranging from a day to a week or even longer and they can easily handle the traffic. If, for any reason a UBR fails then every piece of equipment attached to the cable loses its IP starts requesting a new one via DHCP. This results in the DHCP servers choking and dropping packets because they cant handle the flood of requests. Now normally, to obtain an IP address via DHCP after a reset takes 2 requests from the equipment and 2 responses from the servers as below..

    MODEM -> SERVER - DISCOVER

    SERVER -> MODEM - OFFER

    MODEM -> SERVER - REQUEST

    SERVER -> MODEM - GRANT

    The modem would now have an IP address. If the first DISCOVER packet is dropped by the server (due to choking for example) then the modem will timeout and try agan. If the REQUEST packet is dropped by the server then the modem will timeout and go back to trying again with a DISCOVER. This means that modem has to successfully communicate with DHCP server twice within a short space of time otherwise it fails and tries again (or eventually give up). In addition to this, your PC will also have to successfully communicate twice with the server to get its IP address. The problem gets compounded because some peoples modems will successfully get an IP, but they will then reset them because the PC didn't get one. Eventually the storm of DHCP requests will die down as more and more equipment obtain IP addresses. The DHCP success rate in situations like this is exponential, so in the first minute you may get as few as 100, the next an additional 110 followed by an additional 130 and so on until the servers reach their maximum response rate.

    In case your wondering how I know this, I used to work in the industry for a cable provider in the US

  88. Jonathan Schofield
    Happy

    Get a decent provider!

    Ah the joys of Metronet, reliable service, no contract, static IP..... £13 per month

    Only downside is that I am at the end of the line, 1/2 MB is the best I can do....

  89. Reg Sim
    Pirate

    @you o'iks

    Thats quite enough complaining. Like most people here (I hope most people anyway), you get your service 90%+ of the year and at 75% or more of the advertised speed. With no usage cap.

    If you want a better connection pay for a Guranteed service, with a set line speed.

    I have had Telewest for years and I did crap my pants at the though of NTL taking over. However I am pleased to say that my service has not got worse (ok, sky one went away).

    I recently had my modem die, did the whole phone up and pay for tech support, which was promplty refunded. Turns out my model had died (it was a bit over 5 years old).

    What impreset me was not the rather crap automated service which read phone numbers to fast for me to write, but I was advised Wed night that it would be Friday morning before a techie could come out.

    Got home thursday night to find the techies outside waiting for me, because 'I was on there way home' :) sweet

    Now I do pitty you folk that were NTL before the change, but dam am I glad that Virgin bods have some control other wise it would be NTL for all... ewww.

    Anyway, I have heard so many horror storys about BT broadband that Virgin on a bad day sound good.

    The only unacceptable thing from this latest outage is the lack of a help line number, or rather the lack of a number to call with a phone on the other end.

    @the chap who works from home, you will probley find that your servies settles down to working normaly, having been a very long term telewest and now virgin customer, the service every so often over a couple of years gets unstalbe for 1-5 weeks.

    @the chaps who's speed has droped even though they now say its 4 times faster. Yea i found that my DL speed did dip for a few months, but as I have been slowly increaseing the ammount I DL and runing multiple DL's there is no way my old speed could of coped. ( I have found a few old websites (like this one) which I visit seemed very slow, it turned out it is them that have got slower, like www.scan.co.uk rather than me having a slower connection). *no el-reg does not seem slower*

    On a diffrent topic anybody got a good link for these 3 things ? :

    1. A site that lists sites for testing your broadband speed.

    2. A site which lists ISP's and there offerings.

    3. A site which has ISP rated by customer feedback.

    *I used to have No:3, but I lot the link, back then I remember Telewest being near the top and NTL very very near the bottom.

    -ano

  90. Alan
    Unhappy

    junipers

    I suspect the problems would have been kicked off not by a fibre break or similar, but to updates to their core routers

    http://secunia.com/advisories/28100/

    Quite a few operators have had snags as a result, but none as bad as VM.

  91. Ben Parkinson
    Thumb Down

    up and down like a yo-yo (KT16)

    My Virgin Internet connection has been dog slow for the past week, and then it finally died on Saturday. I had to spend 20 mins (at 25p per min + 10p connection) on the phone to Virgin to report the fault. The support line guy had me do a download test and finally admitted there may be an issue when the fastest DL speed i got was 42kbps!!!

    My Internet came back up at 1am on Sunday. Now it's gone again. I shall see what the situation is when i get home tonight?

    NTL, Virgin...

    The more things change the more they stay the same!

  92. Terry Kiely
    Flame

    Yorkshire???

    I'm in sunny Hatfield in Herts and i lost my DHCP all night, still off at 3am but back by 9 this morning.BOFH maintenance?????

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DHCP

    you can sit all day renewing your ip address and you will keep getting the same ip address, all it does is update the lease and restarts the lease time, so if the lease time is 4 days and 2days in you hit renew then the 4days lease time will start again from point you renewed

    to change your ip you need to release it then renew it :)

    so all you people that where saying that they have the same ip then you will unless you released it first ;)

  94. Ben de Mora
    Linux

    Get your priorities right?

    OK - I've just had a look at Virgin's service status page, and it appears that the issue affecting pretty much all of the british isles is graded as a priority P2.

    The SLA for this fix is 8 hours. Which has already been breached, if you're talking about from the initial outage. I notice the tickets were only created today, late morning / early afternoon.

    The question in my mind is... If a near-total nationwide loss of one of your primary services for untold thousands (millions, El Reg?) of customers is considered not important enough to be graded a P1, what is?

    I would dearly love to see a copy of the Virgin Media Priority assessment spec, as to what makes a P1 incident.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    DHCP

    The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) automates the assignment of IP addresses, subnet masks, default gateway, and other IP parameters. [1]

    When a DHCP-configured client (be it a computer or any other network aware device) connects to a network, its DHCP client sends a broadcast query requesting necessary information from a DHCP server. The DHCP server manages a pool of IP addresses and information about client configuration parameters such as the default gateway, the domain name, the DNS servers, other servers such as time servers, and so forth. Upon receipt of a valid request the server will assign the computer an IP address, a lease (the length of time for which the allocation is valid), and other TCP/IP configuration parameters, such as the subnet mask and the default gateway. The query is typically initiated immediately after booting and must be completed before the client can initiate IP-based communication with other hosts.

    DHCP provides three modes for allocating IP addresses. The best-known mode is dynamic, in which the client is provided a "lease" on an IP address for a period of time. Depending on the stability of the network, this could range from hours (a wireless network at an airport) to months (for desktops in a wired lab). At any time before the lease expires, the DHCP client can request renewal of the lease on the current IP address. A properly-functioning client will use the renewal mechanism to maintain the same IP address throughout its connection to a single network, otherwise it may risk losing its lease while still connected, thus disrupting network connectivity while it renegotiates with the server for its original or a new IP address.

    The two other modes for allocation of IP addresses are automatic (also known as DHCP Reservation), in which the address is permanently assigned to a client, and manual, in which the address is selected by the client (manually by the user or any other means) and the DHCP protocol messages are used to inform the server that the address has been allocated.

    The automatic and manual methods are generally used when finer-grained control over IP address is required (typical of tight firewall setups), although typically a firewall will allow access to the range of IP addresses that can be dynamically allocated by the DHCP server.

    ALLOCATING IP ADRESSES

    Depending on implementation, the DHCP server has three methods of allocating IP-addresses:

    dynamic allocation: A network administrator assigns a range of IP addresses to DHCP, and each client computer on the LAN has its TCP/IP software configured to request an IP address from the DHCP server during network initialisation. The request-and-grant process uses a lease concept with a controllable time period, allowing the DHCP server to reclaim (and then allocate) IP addresses that are not renewed (dynamic re-use of IP addresses).

    automatic allocation: The DHCP server permanently assigns a free IP address to a requesting client from the range defined by the administrator.

    manual allocation: The DHCP server allocates an IP address based on a table with MAC address - IP address pairs manually filled in by the server administrator. Only requesting clients with a MAC address listed in this table will be allocated an IP address.

  96. alex cee
    Happy

    Get on the phone and threaten to leave!

    Get on the phone and threaten to leave and they will beg you to stay and offer you a retentions deal saving you a few quid each month.

    Virgin media get a lot of stick, which some of the time is deserved but they are a hell of a lot better than than majority of ADSL providers! and thats in terms of speed, customer service, availability, oh and the fact you dont have to rely on BTs ancient copper line infrastructure!

  97. Vernon Lloyd

    On the Plus side

    I think Virgin are getting there, they are infinately better than NTL

    Been a Diamond Cable/NTL/Virgin customer for 12 years now. In all that time I have only had approx 5 hours of downtime on my phoneline/broadband in total. My mates BT line is lucky to stay up for 5 hours, with rude phone support.

    The TV Box, however has gone down about 5 times (replacement boxes cured them).

    Every time I rung NTL it was like banging my head against a brick wall. Now Virgin have taken over, I have found them to actucally be most helpful, even though I have been talking to people in India.

    Virgin even corrected NTLs diasterous billing errors within 1 phone call. (Got 3 months free due to overbilling)

    As for last night, was browsing and watching TV fine.

  98. Ben Parkinson
    Thumb Down

    Virgin Media Service Status

    Ticket Number 61637409

    Time Stamp 18/12/2007 12:22

    Priority P2

    Status Opened

    Department Outage Surveillence Team

    Estimated Time Fix 8 hours

    Customers Affected Broadband Internet

    Raised By Scott Walker

    Detailed Description

    Broadband customers in the surrey post code areas may currently be experiencing a loss of connection to the internet. Our engineers are investigating this issue.

    Virgin Media apologise for any inconvenience caused.

    – Virgin Media Technical Support

  99. Alex

    Still on Virgin? hahaha!

    I left last week.... best thing I ever did... consistently fast speeds, much better network reliability. Frankly I recommend going anywhere other than virgin (they used to be OK until they introduced capping). I experienced very little downtime at all when transferring (I was down from for 30 mins from midnight on the day of transfer). My advice to those on virgin. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Get out!!!

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Virgin on the ridiculous.

    Don't tell me; there were leaves on the network cable.

  101. ICooke69

    DHCP

    DHCP address assignments (leases) for some of its servers, which in turn caused IP addresses to be renewed en masse. No word yet on what the routine maintenance was. - WHY ARE THEY NOT ASSIGNING STATIC ADDRESSES TO ALL SERVERS? and just managing Set-Top boxes and Cable modems using DHCP.

  102. Colin Jackson

    OK

    Mine went down for about 30 mins, then came back up and was fine. Compared to the hassle I've had with BT, I consider that to be not bad. At least when it goes down big time nationally they have to get it going again - there's none of this 'reboot your modem' crap.

  103. A J Stiles
    Linux

    @ David Neil

    Far from preventing users from running servers from home, NTL actually used to support that (to the extent that they supported anything).

    Once I got their broadband service, I tried to get a simple phpinfo() working on the so many megabytes of free web space. All I was seeing on the screen was <?php phpinfo(); ?> . First they told me it was my own fault because I was an evil penguin-shagging communist. So I told them I was borrowing a Windows laptop (when really I was just calling in a favour from a bilingual geek, who translated all their instructions for me) and did "exactly what they told me" (when they said open it in notepad, BLG said open it in vi, so I did; when they said drag the file icon into the window, BLG said "put" the file, and so forth, and yes I even used ASCII mode so it would put in the spurious CR characters for the host to have to take out again) and, surprise surprise, it still didn't work.

    A few more support personnel later (including a Linux user, although he seemed to think it was because I was running Debian and not SuSE) and finally we hit upon the truth of the matter: mod_php was not enabled on the residential users' server and I would have to either upgrade to a business package, or run my own server from home.

    They very kindly gave me the link to www.apache.org (as though I couldn't have figured that one out for myself) but not the link to www.php.net, and they didn't have any suggestion for dealing with the changing IP addresses apart from "Can't you just log into your domain control panel and edit the IP address every time it changes?" In fairness, the IP address actually only changed a few times a year (maybe that was because of how my client software was set up) but it was still a royal PITA when it did.

    Also, everyone who joined the service after me seemed to get it cheaper and faster -- and so could I have, said the fliers they kept sending me every week, sometimes twice a week, if not for the fact that I was already a customer and therefore ineligible.

    When my place of work negotiated a reseller agreement with a proper ISP, I chose a nice 2Mb connection with a static IP address, 20:1 contention and no up/download limits. And when Virgin dropped Sky One, I got Sky Plus. No point having HD though; at my age, I can barely see 625 lines, let alone 1080!

  104. Greg

    Really?

    I'm smack in the middle of the "affected areas" and I didn't notice a thing. It just carried on trucking for me.

  105. Kev K
    Happy

    To be fair

    NTL/Virgin have a pretty good uptime rate - like others have said when it goes wrong it goes titsup.com in a fairly major way - in the 12 odd years I have been with them they have been more reliable than BT or even Zen plus I can live with the caps as I just queue my big downloads for day time or early morning. Having to go to bed early once in a while is not such a bad thing ;)

    Ohh and El reg finaly remembers who I am - Bonus

  106. Andy Tyzack
    Thumb Up

    @ Mark

    why would virgin media give you back a months subscription when the service has been off less than 12 hours

    virgin media can do without you freeloader types!

    that is all

  107. shawn

    Virgin Woes

    This had nothing to do with IP address assigment nor a failed fibre link.A national network doesnt have a single point of failure nor one core switch through which all traffic is routed.NTL/Virgin have mutliple CSMT`s and UBR`s all over the country that diffrent neigbourhoods connect to according to there location.Behind those UBR`s is there DHCP`s.Its not possible for every one of these hop on points to fail at the same time.This sounds to me like a bad update to the modems/setop boxes that was rolled out prior to testing.Can i be bothered to check the DOCSIS report to find out.. i doubt it.Am i used to this new Virgin mess absolutely.Will i leave? Not likely as im cabled and BT open reach now that there franchised off charge handsomely to patch a line in.Who loses out? The consumer.. Oh well good ol Richard Branson.

  108. AJ
    Stop

    Get A Grip Morons...

    ... Wow so the network went down for 12 hours, big deal.

    Considering I had broadband on cable from 2000-2007, and only ever had 2 faults max at a few hours each thats pretty good going. Shame I moved to a non cable area, but rather then go ADSL I went with wireless from T-Mobile,

    Nice to see the freaks, and the register jumping on this story. Funny how the reg as been dead with no stories for days then they jump on this one - trying to fill in a few gaps and look busy are we?

    And the statement in the article of:

    "The Virgin Media cable network collapsed overnight, leaving up to three million people without internet access for several hours in the crucial final shopping days before Christmas"

    Who the hell is xmas shopping at 9.20pm and expecting the items they buy to be delivered the following day when most cut companies cut off times for next day delivery is 5pm - Oh maybe this is to make the article sound more interesting to get a lot more responses... Hmmmm, the reg owned by the same company that owns sky now? Or you still think your impartial?

    For people moaning about the downtime and wanting to go elsewhere, my advice would be GO FOR IT but when you have a problem with ADSL and get into the situation of your ISP blaming BT for your outage and BT blaming your own ISP and this goes on for weeks, dont go spouting your crap off and then saying 'right im going to cable' - spend sometime with your families and use the internet as going down as an excuse to get a life not cry yourself to sleep because you cant get online for a few hours!!

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Couple of hours outage = not the end of the world

    Yep, round about ten-ish last night my cable modem also went into an infinite reboot cycle. I unplugged it and got on with my life for a while. Couple of hours later I noticed it was back up *and* I'd got all the dishes washed.

    No problem! :-)

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    No probs here..

    I live in Ilford Essex and have been using Virgin Media for over six months. It's soo reliable.. I've had no problems at all and the speeds are good. On the 20Mb service I get a maximum of 17Mb/s through the line. Lucky me I guess, alhumdulilah.

  111. Pete

    Fine here

    I'm in the north west and I didnt get so much as the tiniest interruption in service. In fact, I took the opportunity to download those Linux ISOs i'd been meaning to get hold of faster than I'd ever done before on a Sunday evening :)

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    @ A J Stiles

    1080? Sky HD is 720 lines. (720p) 1080p would make their set top boxes

    too expensive and take up too much of their current signal - and all 3rd partys involved only supply 720p signals too. SD is way lower than 625

  113. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Second coming

    With all the soppy wife stories it seems that there is going to be a spate of virgin births in about nine months time.

  114. Dave Williams

    Little Alternative

    Bracknell was down from 09:30 till I went to bed 23:00. Again 192.168.10.x leases being dished out every 14 seconds for first 2 hours and then nothing.

    Several commentators have suggested an alt service with better SLA's. Yes I have static IP ADSL (with Demon) but needed a backup to replace the excellent Wireless DSL I used to have that was supplied by Pipex (nee Liberty, nee Tele2) until they strangely pulled out of the market last year :-(

    The only way I could go was cable where there is zero choice. Although Tiscali (as part of Virgin) said they could provide a business service technically they said they couldnt bill me! - I did offer to take the service for nothing.........

  115. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @AJ

    "Wow so the network went down for 12 hours, big deal."

    You're joking, I hope? Decent telcos aim for 5-nines (99.999%) uptime. That's 5 minutes outage per year. At 12 hours outage in one go (99.86% uptime), any telco worth the name should just go into a dark room and shoot itself. I develop HA computer equipment that normally gets 3-4 nines, and we consider that barely acceptable for a datacentre, no way is it OK for a Telco.

    Of course you could be in France. I had 97 hours ADSL outage the other week, and customer support that only called back to ask for details two days after the problem had been fixed. I could wish for service as good as Virgin...

  116. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @All you Virgin customers

    are going to cause a DoS collapse in NHS obstetrics wards in about 9 months time - and it won't be an IT related one.

  117. lsproc
    Flame

    Now, to correct a few

    @people need to get lives

    THANK YOU! Its just an outage, live with it.

    @Get on the phone and threaten to leave!

    "Get on the phone and threaten to leave and they will beg you to stay and offer you a retentions deal saving you a few quid each month."

    People like you deciding to take advantage of this little loop to get cheaper broadband out every time your speed is 1kbit below what it should be should be ashamed.

    Maybe if you weren't so busy getting deals, the PROPER PRICE you pay can potentially go towards maintenance. If your not going to pay that, well there is no hope then.

    You signed up for a contract to pay X ammount of money, and get a connection that works, and if it doesnt work, it will get fixed, which it has. Don't like the terms? Go then, otherwise put up with what you signed up for.

  118. Tone

    Big Deal..

    The whole network never went down, I was back on by 11:30 as were many others...

  119. Chad H.

    @ Ben de Mora

    I would imagine that a Priority 1 would be a total loss of service. No Phone, No Net, No TV.

  120. peter
    Stop

    Please

    To all the Virgin defenders, get a life and spend your time on something more productive than defending a Billion £ corporation over it's poor QoS. Like supporting a Charity or going out for a meal, anything please.

  121. Stephen Penna
    Unhappy

    24 hours

    My connection just came back, after just about exactly 24 hours out (in Reigate).

    We also had a couple of hours' outage on Friday! Not too impressive... although it's been a long time (years) since the last major problem. In my experience, i'd still take this over ADSL!

  122. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Network Outage - Liverpool

    As someone who has just spent 9 hrs trying to help people through this problem I find it outragous that customers call my colleagues and I in liverpool 'Crap and unqualified'. My colleagues and I come from IT backgrounds myself working in Linux and Sun OS fields and almost all of us have CTIA or cisco qualifications. Sadly some staff working on the network are not as qualified as Liverpool. VirginMedia are in the process of attempting theoretical 50Mb upgrades however these would not bring down a Cisco Network. Nor was a fibre break in the core of the HFC. It was more likely a problem caused by trying to carry out routine maintenance. Be assured all the analysts @ liverpool will continue to try to get the network back up again - Liverpool seems to be all thats left of any technical ability to continue to work on the network, in this more and more sales driven new ownership of the business.

  123. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Update Failure

    When I went offline I checked my modem logs. Sounds more like an update failure to me:

    071217213155 4-Error X501.35 Unit Update Failed.

    071217213155 8-Debug F502.1 Bridge Forwarding Enabled.

    071217213154 4-Error E107.0 SW Upgrade Failed after download - Incompatible SW file

    071217213154 4-Error X501.28 Unit Update - Not updating. This image is not for this platform.

    071217213154 8-Debug M571.6 CM Cert Upgrade Enabled. Initiate via SNMP

    071217213154 8-Debug M571.9 Missing CM Cert Upgrade TLVs.

    071217213154 8-Debug M570.1 Motorola CM certificate required

    071217213154 8-Debug F502.2 Bridge Forwarding Disabled.

    071217213153 7-Information X500.0 Attempting Unit Update

  124. This post has been deleted by its author

  125. Frank Bough
    Alien

    Where Else?

    "Most of the problems occurred in the North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands"

    In the Watford area my service was out from 21:30 until well past 01:00. Haven't had an outage like that for a good long while and, contrary to other reports, my 4Mb service usually delivers me the whole 512KB/sec as promised. Of course, they still bill us twice per month for the wrong amount, but at least they only DD the right amount.

  126. Steve

    @AC

    SD is indeed 625 lines.

    Indeed, the term "PAL" is often used informally to refer to a 625-line/50 Hz (576i, principally European) television system, and to differentiate from a 525-line/60 Hz (480i, principally North American/Central American/Japanese) "NTSC" system.

  127. Tom Barry
    Unhappy

    VM technical ability

    "Be assured all the analysts @ liverpool will continue to try to get the network back up again - Liverpool seems to be all thats left of any technical ability to continue to work on the network"

    That's a bit harsh, the people who actually fixed it weren't in Liverpool and have extremely good technical ability, and boy did they need it. Give them some love, mate.

  128. alex cee
    Thumb Down

    @lsproc

    lsproc what's your problem? I am just getting my moneys worth!

    They should not offer deals that are not financially viable for them.......

  129. Adam Carden
    Unhappy

    Ex Telewest

    Well the 'North' bit is complete rubbish, I live in south london and lost my cable connection from 21:30 on the 17th until at least 05:00 on the 18th.

    Being ex telewest (cable) I used to suffer almost no downtime at all, however since Virgin have taken over I have suffered 10 outages so far, the service from my point of view is certainly degrading over time.

    If the UK did not have such crappy providers accross the board I probably would have switched ISP's but even at Virgin's level it's still better than most...

  130. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  131. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    It's NTL, stoopid

    i had their telly once - it took ages to change channel, when it worked, and when it didn't, i spoke to and met staff who couldn't have found work at dixons. Easy to forget with all the virgin gloss, but for this little reminder.

  132. Andy
    Coat

    fibre break

    if a fibre is broken, stuff an OTDR on it and it'll tell you EXACTLY where the damage is.

    For a laugh read the posts by the anonymous one, he is nothing if not inconsistent. Just some that I notice are :

    He is in several different cities simultaneously, he only had it installed yesterday and he also had it installed some years ago, it was so bad he changed, but yet had the problem, and in a different comment, he had no problem!

    I could go in, but I notice that what ever gets reported in El Reg, he has the problem and solution, and as the comments grow, so does his experience. Honestly, I look forward to his entertaining comments. Soon he may even rival Simon Trav.

  133. Pete
    Happy

    Contra-Net?

    It's great to see how the net keeps all these e-males away from their spouses thus keeping the birth rate down... until the network goes tits up of course causing another form of tits-up! Virgin BB 8 megs here, nice 3.1kbps connection but the real pipe is more like 12 in practice - roll on my 12th and final payment date.

  134. Peter Redding

    @Andy

    Are you referring to posts by Anonymous Coward? That just means that people have ticked the "Post anonymously" box (bottom left under the icons).

  135. Jolyon

    Switched from plusnet to VM

    After all the nonsense with deleted email, addresses presented to spammer etc.

    Did have to reboot my cable modem - possibly as a result of this - and had a nightmare with the Indian call centre over the initial connection (which was sorted in minutes by Richard in Swansea).

    We'll see which ends up more annoying but so far VM has not been too bad at all.

  136. Andy Pusey
    Flame

    Virgin on the ridiculous

    They are getting worse. I have now started moving my tv and phone to sky after a really bad year.

    The thing that really annoys me is the rubbish support that you get, I have been with Telewest for years and this is the worse service that I have ever experienced.

    What really gets my goat is that after raising a complaint after not having a phone line for a week they resolved it by giving me a small refund.

    I wasn't after money, I wanted to know how they could deny that my line was out for a week. They helldesk even had the cheek to say "how are you ringing then if your phone is out?".

    As far as I am concerned I hope that they fail. Giving such poor service while charging a premium rate is not a successful business model. I said as much in a survey they sent me after my last complaint, I doubt that they take any notice of us sheep as they try to fleece us!

  137. GBR
    Thumb Down

    I thought I was talking to cowboys, then realised, they're Indians

    What a waste of time the whole cocker-picking thing is. I've not had any type of service (BBand or TV) for days...so all your problems for the past 24hrs or so are peanuts.

    Tried ringing faults and they hadn't a clue, just told me to reboot the set-top box and they would send a signal. Do they think I'm stupid, Im a computer technical engineer...work with networks day in day out. First thing I did was reboot...waste of time. The kit they use/supply are ALL reconditioned and are a minimum of 8years old (I have contacts who previously worked at NTL - they dished the dirt).

    I've spoken with complaints as the Indians can just about speak English so they've no chance doing anything technical. Speaking to complaints...hurrah..English!!! I got the head honchos name - the MD of Virgin Media and postal address. There is a VERY VERY strong worded letter on its way to him. I don't hold my breath for anything back, let alone compensation for loss of service and earnings as I am self employed and need the BBand connection 24x7. If I get no joy I'll then be taking the complaint further...why should I pay for NO service..either from kit or support? I'll keep you posted.

    Should I create a web site titled something like VirginMediamyarse , perhaps then I can tell the world and his wife how useless the "premium" service they advertise actually is.

  138. Dr. E. Amweaver

    come back NTL, all is almost forgiven...

    ...and if you have one of the old-school NTL cable modem boxes, DO NOT LET THEM REPLACE IT. Vastly more reliable and immune to random firmware "upgrades".

    Why his Sainted Beardness thought this was a decent idea, I'll never know. And does anyone actually watch Virgin1?

  139. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Maunally assign IP

    If VM assign a static IP address based upon your cable modem MAC address, via a DCHP, why not write down the IP address that has be allocated to you and then manually enter it and also manually enter your DNS servers (DNS IP addresses are freely available on the internet).

    This way if the VM DCHP goes "wrong" again you will still be able to connect.

    Just a thought.

  140. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Static IP address

    If VM assign a static IP address based upon your cable modem MAC address, via a DCHP, why not write down the IP address that has be allocated to you and then manually enter it and also manually enter your DNS servers (DNS IP addresses are freely available on the internet).

    This way if the VM DCHP goes "wrong" again you will still be able to connect.

    Just a thought.

  141. Kev K
    IT Angle

    Work from home and NEED BB??

    If you NEED your BB then get NTL Business, UK call centre, MUCH better support and a different system/network if you believe what they say - oh and its slower (1.5mb I think) as well as more expensive. I work from home but have made provision for the odd time it all goes titsup (access to next doors ADSL wifi - I set it up & kept a copy of the wpa key for "security" reasons <grin>.

    You have to be retarded if you are reliant on a home network for WORK. Like people who use FarceHosts or some other budget host for their mission critical websites and then whinge that their £10 a month hosting has ruined their e-com service - redundancy and reliability - I thought that’s what IT professionals were supposed to sell their customers ??

    Some of you people make me laugh & keep a roof over my head with your stupidity - thanks

  142. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I didn't notice

    As I was having sex my girlfriend all evening. YA RLY.

  143. Derek Scott
    Thumb Down

    I notice that the lease time has been reduced to 3 hours

    I notice that the broadband lease time has been reduced to 3 hours, its been like that for the past month! I'm sick and fed up of Virgin Media and its outages (they happen all too often), I'll be moving to SKY in the New Year.Virgin Media cable TV service is a joke, I've recently had a set top new box installed because of problems with the picture on the TV going blank or stuttering, its happening again, pathetic!

  144. andy

    reply to Reg Sim

    try this site:

    http://www.azureuswiki.com/index.php/Bad_ISPs#United_Kingdom

    or

    http://dslzoneuk.net/

    I have heard that BE are pretty reliable internet providers. I use wor's computers so I wouldn't have a clue (we use BT here, I think)

  145. David Richards

    south was affected to

    i am Bournemouth and i was affected. getting to the point where i am looking to switch

  146. Nick
    Alert

    Virgin Media unavailable...

    Get this :

    I'm in France at the moment, so it hasn't really affected me, but my family back in Birmingham are with Virgin Media's cable service, and they had the 'blackout' monday night. However, they've also had nothing since then, either!

    I try to administer the router and network remotely, and noticed i couldn't connect to the router on tuesday lunchtime. Phoned my brother up, and he said they'd had nothing since the night before. Checked the Virgin status page, and it said they were having trouble in the birmingham area, and estimated 4 hours until it would be fixed. 9 Hours later, it still wasn't working. Nor Wednesday lunchtime. By this time i could hardly believe it, so I thought i'd check that it wasn't the router playing up and told him to connect the cable modem straight into one of the PC's via ethernet. Same thing, though (nothing).

    I decided to write a very angry email to Virgin media through the broadband technical faults page, demanding immediate updates with regards to the fault. I don't expect to hear back from them to be honest. Seriously though, nearly 48 hours without a working internet connection now!! I'm furious (even though i'm not affected technically lol)!

    THe worst thing is, the Virgin status page still displays internet as unavailable in my area, and the estimated time until revival is 4 hours still (from yesterday, 9pm)! They haven't posted a single update, so we're completely in the dark! What on earth do they expect us to do!?

  147. Dann
    Unhappy

    DHCP error

    I thought it was something to do with DHCP.

    My external IP address changed to 192.168.100.3

    Damn engineers, I was going to phone their Tech support and offer them some help, but it would have cost me.

  148. mX
    Flame

    Problem still ONGOING after 4 days!!!

    In the North London area NW1 I still have not got internet after 4 days now!!! Disgraceful!!!!

    It has been going on and off for the past 4 monthys now, and that's it for me now Virgin, really tired of you, definately gonna switch over to a proper and reliable ISP!!!!

  149. Nick
    Flame

    Not just me then...

    Well at least it's not just me then. I'm also going 4 days without internet. Have emailed them 6 times now, but still no response. Can't seem to get through to them on phone (probably because i'm in France...).

    Disgraceful, really!

  150. zar athustra
    Stop

    Stop reading you modem logs...!

    All of you unqualified to interpret your modem logs: why do you even bother to peruse them? FYI, all the 'SW update' failures you're seeing are failing precisely because they're for alternate models of modem to your own.

    IOW: they're _supposed_ to fail.

    HTH HAND kthxbi

  151. Andy Tyzack
    Heart

    @Peter Redding

    my apologies

  152. Mr Jack Willis

    VIRGIN OUTAGE

    This outage has gone on since December 9th and still continues. Myself I have lost at least 5 days where the internet was useless, even now the 31 December I am still having cable unplugged coming up. All this despite several emails to Virgin asking for them to explain, this as not been forthcoming. Being disabled this problem and Virgins lack of concern over it as made this Christmas one of the worst I have had for some time, not being able to have our family internet get together. The retirement complex in which I live will be rewired for digital T.V. in 2008 including Sky, this can't be soon enough for me, Virgins customer care leads much to be desired.

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