back to article Major outage at broadband biz 186k

Broadband-pusher 186k – as well as ISPs it supplies including Fast.co.uk and Firenet – is advising customers to seek other providers as it is unable to "continue to supply" its current service, in a notice sent to customers today seen by The Register. One reader got in touch to report the outage happened at 9:30am this morning …

  1. David Austin

    Need More Info

    Has anyone figured out what's going on at 186K?

    Trying to figure out what's te state of play on the POTS lines, as well as Broadband: Luckily, only got 6 customers on 186K, and most of them are backups for BT/Virgin.

  2. Alan J. Wylie Silver badge

    Accounts overdue

    They seem to have flip-flopped company names between LIGHTSPEED COMMUNICATION and 186K in July, but the accounts for both companies are overdue since the end of November.

    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/04937421

    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/03744335

    1. Dave Pickles

      Re: Accounts overdue

      From the wording of the announcement it sounds as though the firm haven't been paying BTOR and so their customers' lines are being ceased as the bills fall due.

      1. joewilliamsebs

        Re: Accounts overdue

        Certainly sounds like it. That's not an announcement of a technical fault.

      2. batfastad
        WTF?

        Re: Accounts overdue

        @Dave Pickles - You might be on to something...

        http://status.as8401.net

        > Broadband Services Subscribe

        > Investigating - If you're currently experiencing an outage with your broadband service please be advised that you will need to find an alternative broadband provider as we are unable to continue to supply your current service.

        > Please direct any queries to support@186k.co.uk

        > Other services, such as website hosting and e-mail are unaffected.

        > We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

        > Dec 13, 09:36 GMT

      3. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: Accounts overdue

        Sounds like northpint. I had an ISP that leased their lines from northpoint. North Point stopped paying it's bills and had is lines shut off.

    2. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: Accounts overdue

      Very little would surprise me regarding that lot... particularly if the Dom is still in charge.

  3. Drone Pilot

    Their DHCP Forwader runs Windows 10

    As per title....

  4. Alister Silver badge

    no future?

    The Register has contacted 186k to ask when it expects the service to return to normal, and the reason for the outage. ®

    I would have thought it is clear from the below that the answer is "never"

    "If you are currently experiencing an outage with your broadband service, please be advised that you will need to find an alternative provider as we are unable to continue to supply your current service."

    It sounds to me (pure speculation) that whatever deal they had with BT Wholesale has fallen through, rather than it being a technical issue.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: no future?

      "The Register has contacted 186k to ask when it expects the service to return to normal, and the reason for the outage."

      This is the new normal.

    2. BongoJoe Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: no future?

      "If you are currently experiencing an outage with your broadband service, please be advised that you will need to find an alternative provider as we are unable to continue to supply your current service."

      This is all I am getting when I call 186k and Firenet Hosting.

      Time to move the website and the IPS Tag too. The trouble is getting them to move it so I hope that Nominet can help...

      Bloody hell, etc..

  5. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    Is it just me ...

    or is there a lack of details about refunds in the whole piece ?

    1. DJ Smiley

      Re: Is it just me ...

      Where there's no money, there's no refunds.

      Also, unless you've got SLA's with contracts to match, you'll have fun getting refunds anyway.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Refunds

      I read "we are unable to continue to supply your current service." as a euphemistic way of saying, "basically you're f***ed so you'd better start looking for a plan 'B'".

      From that I implied that the response to any query relating to refunds would just reiterate the first three words of my sentence

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Safety Net

    As the internet is so important these days there should be a plan in place for a provider to take over the service. Recently many woke up on a Monday to realise that on the previous Saturday, a small energy provider had gone bust, did the lights go out, no, did the gas go off, no, the plan worked, and within days another company took over, maintaining the same cost (despite Ofgem saying the price may go up till you switch again).

    1. DJ Smiley

      Re: Safety Net

      That's because, despite how much the energy companies would like you to believe otherwise, they don't actually 'handle' the energy.

      They simple broker how much usage they think they'll require, and make sure they put the numbers in, in good time for the production to be done.

      Not quite the same with ISP's, where they are actually handling the data from point to point (and so when it falls over, it isn't actually 'still there').

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Again?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/21/tiscali_186_row/

  8. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    I did wonder...

    I go past their offices on the way to work (or at least they were there for quite some time) and it's looking pretty empty now. Especially with the giant 'to let' sign on the building (nice offices though)

  9. Desem

    Is it coincidence, open reach annual Christmas break starts 12th dec and 186k get switched off 9.3o the next day ?.?

  10. William Higinbotham

    We have the same problem

    On Jan 20, 2017. All Americe will loose service. All citizens will need to find other countries to continue to service them:-)

  11. BongoJoe Silver badge

    Web Hosting

    I have one of my major sites hosted by one of 186k's subsiduary companies and, at the moment, things look fine.

    But one question that I have. How do the hosting companies connect and will this outage have any impact on hosted sites other than, of course, the risk of the company going TITSUP?

    Can anyone who is more knowledgable in these matters care to pass on an opinion?

    1. chairman_of_the_bored

      Re: Web Hosting

      I don't think they can be long for this world; the status pages of all their subsidiaries still say only Broadband is suffering a major outage, but if they can't pay a major supplier like BT then the reality is their business model is badly broken. I don't have any clients on their servers, but if I did I'd be seeking to move them with alacrity.

      1. BongoJoe Silver badge

        Re: Web Hosting

        Thanks for the reply. Looks like its time to find a new .asp host somewhere in Blighty.

        Is they do go TITSUP then who releases all the pointers and records to the site? The databases and .asp files are all backed up, of course, so that that's not an issue but it's the clever back end admin stuff that I don't fully follow.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thankfully we only have, err I mean had, a handful of customers still with them.

    As mentioned above, it's a bit of a poor show that the first the customers know is when the service stops working. If it's a case of 186k not having paid the bills and the upstream provider pulling the plug - then suggests something of a lack of ethics at the upstream provider in pulling the plug without having done anything to alert customers.

  13. JosephEngels

    Not at all surprised, perhaps surprised they lasted so long.

    I used to colo a few boxes at a lovely and wonderful little ISP in Fulham called "Mailbox" ... sadly, they got taken over by 186K ... what a complete clusterfuck that was. A truly awful experience and I closed the account and shut the boxes down within a few months.

    If they (186K) have gone bust, then it is hardly unexpected, the organisation was pathetic, it needed putting out of it's misery.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SQL database failure with no backups

    Have been told there is a rumour circulating that the MySQL database holding vital information has failed and there are no backups and it's easier to close the service than recover...anyone know if there is any truth to this rumour or just idle drunken chatter?

    1. tandyuk

      Re: SQL database failure with no backups

      We use(d) 186k for our PSTN services.

      Initially I read this and thought 'yeah right', however there may be some truth behind this.

      The 186k portal is up and running, which is where we would place orders etc, but when trying to drill into an existing order, we get the following error:

      Warning: mysql_connect(): Connection timed out in /srv/www/htdocs/portal/edit_orders.php on line 89

      Could not connect to radius accounting database lauren.186k.co.uk: Connection timed out

      If they lost their radius database, this would explain the total dropout of all DSL services, as this is more than likely the same database used for connection authentication.

      I only found out about these problems by chance yesterday, as I tried to call 186k to ask a question before placing a new PSTN order.

      We, like others, have had no contact from them about the current issues, and have been unable to contact 186k on any of the numbers we have for them (Direct line to support, Accounts, etc etc).

      We've also had no response to any of the emails sent to either their help@ support@ addresses, as well as ones sent directly to their management.

      We are currently migrating all PSTN services away as a precaution, and given the complete lack of contact, I would suggest others do the same!

      186k: If there are no problems with ongoing PSTN or other service provisions, you only have yourselves, and your lack of communication, to blame for the current exodus of customers you must be experiencing.

      Keeping your customers in the loop goes a long way to keeping them happy!

  15. rchimes

    Major problem for 186k resellers

    In addition to the broadband problems 186k are not responding to support emails or calls. I signed up as a VISP some years ago with Minx when before they were acquired by 186k. I have several customers whose websites I manage, hosted by 186k. I have been unable to make any changes to those websites and some are just not working at all. I have email problems as well and BT internet have blacklisted some of the servers that 186k use for email services and many emails sent to BT internet addresses are 'bounced'. We have all these problems but no one to call! I have been in touch with Nominet who are brilliant and we can do something about the .co.uk domains but the other domains including .com, .org and .net are registered through TUCOWS and they are more difficult to deal with. I have now emailed hostmaster@186k.co.uk and TUCOWS have given them two days to respond, which is fine, but that's another 2 days wait before I can address my customers issues. This is all very frustrating.

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