Flooded Exchange Disrupts BT Service

Major flooding at a BT exchange in the Paddington section of London has disrupted telecom service and payment networks in parts of London, and the company says it may be days before it can fully restore service. The flood at the Burne House Telephone Exchange (picture) in North Paddington was caused by an electrical fault and followed by a fire, which has complicated the task of gaining access to the building to repair damage, according to numerous reports.

BT is “saying that it may take up to 4 days to resolve the fault,” according to a status update from Business ISP Gradwell. “They will be able to give a more definite time frame to fix once they are allowed inside the site by the fire department. … The first of 2 generators that BT have ordered for North Paddington Exchange has arrived onsite, once flood water has been cleared engineers will be tasked to install it.”

The incident is disrupting landline and mobile phone coverage and Internet access for thousands of residential, mobile and business customers around London, according to local ISPs. Payment processing and cash machines at the SagePay network used by Lloyds CardNet was also affected, according to Finextra. SagePay said late Wednesday that “some customers may still be experiencing some intermittent authorisations.”

“Following major flooding at a BT exchange in the Paddington area, tens of thousands of customers in parts of North and West London may be experiencing a loss of broadband and/or telephone service,” BT said in a statement. “Customers in other parts of the country may also be affected. We are currently working on restoring services to customers, however as this is a complex incident we cannot accurately predict when all services will be restored.”

See additional coverage from the BBC, the Register and the Telegraph. BT is providing (very) periodic updates via its status page.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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