Science

Virgin Media broadband outage affects thousands


Virgin Media left thousands of customers with no internet during what they claimed was a ‘very short’ outage earlier this evening – but Twitter has erupted with angry users wondering why their connection keeps cutting off.

The nationwide outage started just before 5pm BST, according to data from website Downdetector, which monitors online outages and had 30,553 reports by 5.26pm. 

Outages continued into the early hours of today as thousands of customers reported their internet failing every hour on Downdetector. 

Over three quarters of those affected, 78 per cent, reported problems with their wired connection – as some complained their Virgin Media internet had been periodically cutting out recently.

Some 19 per cent reported their mobile internet was also down. 

Problems were reported in towns and cities across the UK including Birmingham, Nottingham, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Bristol, Southampton, Eastleigh and Liverpool. Pictured, a live map on website Downdetector at 6pm

Problems were reported in towns and cities across the UK including Birmingham, Nottingham, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Bristol, Southampton, Eastleigh and Liverpool. Pictured, a live map on website Downdetector at 6pm

Virgin Media tweeted at 10.08pm to let its frustrated customers know it’s technicians were working on a solution, but knew the problem wasn’t being caused by increased usage or ‘a lack of capacity’.

Instead a ‘technical fault’ is the reason thousands of people are suffering through their internet connection consistently shutting down.

The Tweet read: ‘The issue is causing broadband connectivity to drop for a few minutes before returning again. 

‘We know that this is not being caused by increased usage or a lack of capacity – it is a network technical fault. Our teams are currently working on a fix.’

Virgin Media tweeted at 10.08pm to let its frustrated customers know it's technicians were working on a solution, but knew the problem wasn't caused by increased usage or 'a lack of capacity'

Virgin Media tweeted at 10.08pm to let its frustrated customers know it’s technicians were working on a solution, but knew the problem wasn’t caused by increased usage or ‘a lack of capacity’ 

Birmingham, Nottingham, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Bristol, Southampton, Eastleigh and Liverpool were among the locations with the highest rate of reports.

Reports from Birmingham peaked at 8pm with 1381, while in Manchester there were 766 reports at 7.52pm.

In Southampton the outage peaked at 469 at 5.54pm. And outages continued through the night with 8,763 complaints recorded by Downdetector at midnight.

Virgin Media has said ‘services are back up and running’ after a ‘very short’ outage earlier this evening, but some customers have reported facing ongoing issues.

A spokesman for Virgin Media said: ‘We’re currently investigating an intermittent broadband issue that lasted for a very short period of time earlier this evening. 

‘While services are currently back up and running, our teams are looking into the problem and will work flat out to fix it. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.’

Virgin Media (stock image) is investigating the cause of a broadband issue that left homes without internet

Virgin Media (stock image) is investigating the cause of a broadband issue that left homes without internet

Some 44,859 customers took to website Downdetector to report problems even at 8pm this evening. Connections appeared to be cutting in and out as users took to the site to report problems at 5pm, 7pm and 8pm.

Customers vented their frustration on social media at a time when reliable home internet networks are proving crucial. 

@valinor__ tweeted: ‘When I die, you lot better get Virgin Media Wifi to sponsor my funeral so they can let me down one last f****** time.’

The number of people reporting intermittent problems spiked at around 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 9pm, 11pm and 12am BST, each with tens of thousands of people reporting complaints

The number of people reporting intermittent problems spiked at around 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 9pm, 11pm and 12am BST, each with tens of thousands of people reporting complaints

@VijayArogyasami wrote: ‘Second time in a month my Virgin Media service has gone down. This time it was only half a hour. Last time, it went down at 8pm in the evening and wasn’t back on until 11am the next day.’ 

@superninja106 said: ‘If you take a shot every time virgin media’s wifi went back up you might never get drunk.’

While @Doomwatch9 wrote: ‘Virgin Media boasts lightning fast internet (when it works) the only known thing that moves faster is Beardy Branson’s hand moving to get a government bailout.’

While most of the red had cleared up by 8.30pm it is clear from this Downdetector graphic that many homes were still without internet

While most of the red had cleared up by 8.30pm it is clear from this Downdetector graphic that many homes were still without internet

Twitter users took to the site to share jokes about internet switches being turned off and technicians trying to fix the problem

Twitter users took to the site to share jokes about internet switches being turned off and technicians trying to fix the problem

@OMGItzMartinnn penned: ‘To be fair my family has been with virgin media 17 years and this happens pretty often tbf. @virginmedia improve your infrastructure!’  

The outage appears to have lasted for less than an hour, with some Twitter users reporting a short-term issue of between seven ad 15 minutes.

‘Who tripped over the plug that goes to the UK at Virgin Media? Entire country down for like 7 minutes and then straight back up,’ tweeted @blakeinghearts.  

While some Twitter users joked about a rogue employee flicking the UK Internet switch, others called out angry customers for being too harsh to call centre workers

While some Twitter users joked about a rogue employee flicking the UK Internet switch, others called out angry customers for being too harsh to call centre workers

Another said: ‘Mine went off for about 15 odd minutes then came back on. I hope this has resolved for everyone else? Tbf Virgin Media have been quite good, for us at least.’ 

Other users were cut off from virtual meetings or forced to stop teaching mid-lesson when their internet stopped working. 

One said: ‘So @virginmedia went down temporarily during a zoom meeting and suddenly the precariousness of my online existence became all too clear. 

Some Twitter users reported that the outage lasted for a few minutes before they were reconnected

Other users were cut off from virtual meetings and were forced to stop teaching mid-lesson when their internet stopped working

Other users were cut off from virtual meetings and were forced to stop teaching mid-lesson when their internet stopped working

‘I know we’re all moaning but without it I would not have seen another human I know for 6 weeks.’

Another wrote: ‘Looks like I can blame @virginmedia for my @zoom_us lesson cutting out this afternoon. 

‘Looking at their tweets they are aware there is an issue and are working hard to resolve it. That’s good then – let’s hope I can teach online tomorrow okay! #teachingfromhome’

Lots of users joked business magnate Richard Branson may be withholding internet to encourage the Government to grant his airline a £500 million loan. 

 

Lots of users joked Richard Branson may be withholding internet to encourage the Government to grant his airline a £500 million loan

Lots of users joked Richard Branson may be withholding internet to encourage the Government to grant his airline a £500 million loan

Branson, 69, is battling to save Virgin Atlantic by begging the British Government for a loan —and offering to mortgage Necker Island, his private Caribbean retreat believed to be worth £80 million.

The business mogul pledged to ‘raise as much money against the island as possible to save as many jobs as possible’ in an attempt to persuade the authorities to help Virgin through ‘the devastating impact this pandemic continues to have’.

@Cardiac1963 wrote: ‘Branson’s not getting any money for his planes so he’s pulled the plug out on Virgin Media Wifi there defo.’

Sir Branson (pictured in October), 69, is battling to save Virgin Atlantic by begging the British Government for a loan

Sir Branson (pictured in October), 69, is battling to save Virgin Atlantic by begging the British Government for a loan

@_toiletroad said: ‘Virgin media is down cause Richard Branson is having a sulk about everyone calling him a knob head.’

Another user, @youneshh, said: ‘Feel for all you who use Virgin Media for internet. Richard Branson has just taken you all as ransom for government bailout.’ 

The rumours have very little grounding and Branson actually only owns 15 per cent of the media company. 

US billionaire John Malone’s group, Liberty Global, bought Virgin Media in a cash and stock deal worth $23.3bn (£15bn) in 2013. 

Customers took to social media to vent their frustration at a time when reliable home internet networks are proving crucial

Customers took to social media to vent their frustration at a time when reliable home internet networks are proving crucial

Thousands of Virgin Media customers were left without internet or phone access early last month due to another outage affecting parts of England, especially Southampton and surrounding areas. 

Coronavirus lockdown has caused UK internet usage to almost DOUBLE 

Data from Openreach, the UK’s largest which owns and operates most of the UK’s phone broadband lines, reveals daytime data consumption has almost doubled in March. 

On March 9, one week before Boris Johnson gave his first daily coronavirus press conference urging people to work from home wherever possible, the total amount of data used between 9am and 5pm was 27 petabytes.

On Monday March 30, this figure reached 51Pb, almost double the previous figure. One petabyte is the same as one million gigabytes. 

The peak time during the day continues to be between 2pm and 5pm, while the evening peak is between 8pm and 11pm.

‘Overall, the network is coping very well as we have expected,’ a spokesperson told MailOnline.

At the time, one Virgin Media broadband customer in London told MailOnline that they have been without internet for a whole week with ‘no clear explanation’. 

The outage came as a shock to the thousands of Brits now working and studying at home.

It was recently revealed Britons were using the coronavirus lockdown to upgrade their internet, with the amount of people switching broadband supplier jumping by 30 per cent from the end of February to the end of March.

Millions of adults and children are stuck inside all day during the nationwide lockdown and high-speed internet has become a necessity.

Children are e-schooling, parents are working from home, and streaming TV programmes is a key hobby in the evenings.

As a result, internet consumption has almost doubled in the UK in March and many are looking to boost their internet speed. 

Comparethemarket.com says it has seen considerable demand for products with faster speeds since the restrictions began.

The comparison site also claims four in 10 households have experienced issues with their broadband since lockdown, which has impacted their ability to work.

Customers opting for download speeds of 51+MB or more – fast enough to easily download files – made up less than half of all switches at the start of March.

But by the end of the month, after lockdown was implemented, customers opting for these speeds made up almost two thirds of those switching.

Figures from comparethemarket.com also reveal a huge spike of 95 per cent in people purchasing the fastest internet package,providing more than 61mbps.

Children are e-schooling, parents are working from home, and streaming TV programmes is a key hobby in the evenings. As a result, internet consumption has almost doubled in the UK in March and many are looking to increase their bandwidth and have quicker internet speeds (stock)

Children are e-schooling, parents are working from home, and streaming TV programmes is a key hobby in the evenings. As a result, internet consumption has almost doubled in the UK in March and many are looking to increase their bandwidth and have quicker internet speeds (stock)

Holly Niblett, head of digital at comparethemarket.com, said: ‘We have seen a surge in demand for faster broadband packages since the lockdown began. 

‘Broadband is increasingly being recognised by the government as an essential utility, yet many people adjusting to the new ways of working are realising that their existing connection isn’t up to scratch.

‘Millions of households are stuck on out-of-contract deals with their existing provider which are often expensive and uncompetitive.

‘The reality of a patchy connection speed, combined with a growing awareness that cheap, reliable and fast broadband is no longer a pipedream, is motivating growing numbers to switch provider.

‘Switching provider is straightforward and can generate savings over the course of a year that can easily run into hundreds of pounds.’  



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