Sunday, 31 October 2010
This blog post can be read at 5tth.blogspot.com
On Friday night there was feeling of Deja Vu. Three weeks ago my internet slowed to walking pace, on Friday night it stopped altogether. It seems, that once again the fault lies with BT, a `node failure' was to blame. The number of people affected was reported by the BBC to be tens of thousands... elsewhere 1.2 million was quoted. The twitterati went for the higher figure and judging by the fact that the effects seemed to go wider than just BT's own domestic customers, I saw Plusnet given as an example, and I'm with Virgin, that higher number seems feasible.
Offering further comment on the fact that the whole episode was down to a failure (probably an equipment failure) at a BT exchange is probably superfluous.
What did strike me was how long it took the conventional media to report this story, and not realise the importance of it.
When my main internet supply failed, I plugged in my Orange dongle and went in search of references to the outage. There was nothing on any of the news websites, so I did what I would normally do in these circumstances.... I turned to Twitter, searched `outage' and slowly at first my suspicions were confirmed... and I have to say that I was relieved to find that it wasn't my wireless router which had blown up.
The first hint that the conventional media was across it was a tweet from the Guardian's Charles Arthur, saying that something seemed to be amiss and saying he would investigate.
As Mrs H pointed out to me, if everybody's internet had gone belly up, then they would have been prevented from reporting it on their websites, because those websites would have been `unupdateable'
Fair point, but there didn't seem to be anything on the broadcast media either.
Eventually a small story appeared on the BBC News website at about 2300, the outage had occurred about three hours earlier.
I have to say that it struck me that if the figure of 1.2 million users being left without the internet was correct then this is a much bigger story, but it did happen in Southern Scotland and Northern England, so it was a long way from London... Even if it was tens of thousands of people, rather than 1.2 million, that lower figure would have been newsworthy if it had been electricity which had been lost, so why not internet?