back to article Pub o' clock comes early for C&W biz customers silenced by titsup phones

Business customers of Vodafone-owned Cable & Wireless have been complaining about the telecoms outfit this morning after it was hit by a major outage apparently affecting the whole of the UK. The Register understands that punters are unable to receive inbound calls to the category of numbers whose prefix includes 0800 and 0845 …


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  1. J P

    Aren't HMRC (currently) C&W customers? Would have been really 'entertaining' if it had gone down yesterday in parallel with Santanders bill-pay facility for SA taxes...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tweets from Scottish Power now make sense...

    Scottish Power posted up their geographic fault report numbers earlier, they must get their services from C&W

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Email that I jut got from CW

    Current Impact Statement

    Loss of calls over the thus network; any inbound calls to non-geographical numbers routing through the Thus IN platform are impacted.

    Description of incident and customer impact.

    The replacement disk has been inserted into the Glasgow device; this specific platform has been restarted and could take up to 3 hours to re-establish.

    We continue to investigate alternate options to provide service to our customers.

    The Glasgow platform is re-stabilizing, and full restoration is expected to take 3 hours.

    The Edinburgh device has been restarted and engineers are working to restore this platform; additionally a spare disk is en-route from Glasgow should this be required.

    1. The FunkeyGibbon

      Re: Email that I jut got from CW

      A spare disk? Are they saying they didn't have a HDD onsite for this (assumed) server?

      1. thermionic

        Re: Email that I jut got from CW

        i'll bet that the disk is not a 3.5" SAS/SCSI/SATA or even an IDE ...

        1. gsl

          Re: Email that I jut got from CW

          @ thermionic

          Where did we put those 1.4MB floppies?

      2. Annihilator

        Re: Email that I jut got from CW

        "A spare disk? Are they saying they didn't have a HDD onsite for this (assumed) server?"

        No, they're saying they've used a spare disk ("the replacement disk has been inserted into the Glasgow machine") and are sending a replacement for that spare disk. For all you know there are x spare disks on site and they are now down to x-1.

    2. MichaelFindlay

      Re: Email that I jut got from CW

      It sounds as if they did not have raid on the server providing connectivity to these numbers (For a company the size of C&W this is shocking), I would imagine they are running some sort of disaster recovery right now like Norton Ghost.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We are kind of back up

    I can see calls limping back into our network slowly (I mean REALLY slowly)...

    We identified that if a number was ported OFF the CW/Thus network to another provider like BT or VM, these numbers were also hit as well.

    I will put another update up when I get it from CW....

    1. Mike Pellatt

      Re: We are kind of back up

      Of course numbers ported off CW/Thus will fail to route, too. That's the way it works.

      Since the industry blew a big raspberry a while back at Ofcom over dragging number portability into the 21st century, everyone remains at risk of losing their numbers if the owner of the number range goes titsup and their switches are pulled from the network.

      See "Ionica"

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't it be funny....

    ...If the engineer had to goto the local PC World or Maplins (I know they wont but it made us all laugh here...) to get a spare :-)

    (I have done it myself when we had a major outage once as it was quicker than waiting for a direct-to-site from our stores...!

  6. Nasty Nick

    Don't worry it was "only" a limited number...

    "only a limited number of customers were affected by the outage" - so that's alright then! So it's "only" a problem when an unlimited number of customers are affected?

    Still, nice to know that they have real customers as opposed to the ubiquitous "clients".

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Don't worry it was "only" a limited number...

      I love that. It seems to be the current marketing take on service problems. National network goes down, and the spokesdroid says that only a limited number of customers were affected.

      Sadly that's 99% of them. 1% have just signed up for the service and aren't due to be connected until next week...

  7. ukgnome

    Again eh?

    This is not the first time this week.

    The network and phone provider on site is Clueless & Witless, we have so far had major network issues affecting the south and central regions, pathetic internet access, and phone trouble.

    When you get the delight of speaking to their incident desk you get the same old runaround (minus Mike Reid) They ask for the destination IP address no matter what the fault (seemingly) I now give them

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Talking with one of our partners, in our case we have not got a financially backed SLA and CW/Thus rate each case on it's merits as to how much they should pay out.

    If you have a LOT of missed calls, it may be worth getting some evidence together and letting them know you want some compo - worth a try....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The platform acctually went down at about 6am, just they was not aware not even cable and wireless knew they had a problem untill around 8-9am.

    No one could even call cable and wireless to report that there was a problem as their own 0800 numbers was down to.

    1. smudge Silver badge

      ....and they thought it was a really quiet day?

      "It's Friday - lotta people taking the day off, innit!"

  10. Mr_Pitiful

    Why can't C&W customers...

    Simply re-route their outgoing call to BT

    All they need to do is dial 1280 before the number...

    Problem solved

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why can't C&W customers...

      We have around 5000 non geo numbers, the issue is that these numbers point to our phone switches, customers call the 0800 number and the calls hit our platform. The 1280 work around would not work in our case, as the calling party was phoning into us and no matter which network they are on, nobody could get calls into us.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love it - a Thus spokes gimp e-mailed me the following:

    We are very aware that some of our customers are currently experiencing problems with incoming and outgoing calls over Thus voice services including CPS and NGN’s (non geographic numbers 0845 & 0800).

    Engineers have isolated the root cause towards a hardware failure and are currently at our network sites working towards restoring services as soon as possible. This is a significant restoration activity which is anticipated to take a number of hours. As a parallel action, our engineering teams continue to investigate other avenues with a view to restoring services as soon as possible.

    If you are experiencing issues with your non-geographic numbers, a possible workaround is for you to issue your customers with your alternative geographic numbers for the period that service is unavailable.

    Due to the impact of this incident we have set up an additional number of 01702 279711 that you can contact the Customer Management Centre on, however please be aware that call volumes are high at present and we recommend customers contact us via email to or via live chat at

    This service outage is being treated as a major incident and our priority is to restore services as quickly as possible.

    1. Martin 71 Silver badge

      I really don't understand WHAT this penchant is for 08xx numbers anyway. Just use a normal geographic landline from a real phone company. Cable and Wireless were a worldwide telegraph outfit, what they're doing with phonelines, I have no idea

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        The British government had two Telecoms monopolies. British Telecom had the UK market and Cable and Wireless had the Commonwealth countries. C&W have a long history in telecoms. Their current UK business is partly self built and partly made up of other businesses they've bought over time - I think (but I'm not sure) that they include Thus, Energis and the corporate telecoms part of NTL. There's not much call for telegraphs these days so to stay in business they would have had to move into Telecoms anyway to survive.

        08xx numbers use the Intelligent Network - an add on to the PSTN. It lets companies control call routing between call centres, use time of day routing and re-route in case of congestion. It gives you a level of control that you can't get using geographic numbers routed over the standard PSTN.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: C&W

          I should add - I don't work for C&W, but I've worked with INs in another company.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: C&W

          Yup, we are using the IN platform for freephone numbers and the dreaded 0870/1's

          All works well, until we get an outage :/

          We have tried doing some diverse routing but bleeding CW keeps buying the smaller ones out (Thus, Your Communications to name two)

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