Net failure hits UK

News Andrew Craig Nov 26, 2003

Updated: Problems with transatlantic internet cables are being blamed for the net access nightmares experienced by many UK web users on Tuesday.

Problems with transatlantic internet cables are being blamed for the net access nightmares experienced by many UK web users on Tuesday.

Two major cables connecting the UK and US experienced problems on Tuesday afternoon and early evening, according to Linx, which acts as a crossroads for most UK net traffic.

One of the cables, between Bude in Cornwall and Tuckerton, New Jersey has been faulty for about three weeks, but it was a problem with a second link in the TAT-14 network (see diagram below) that really messed up UK net users.

Worse still, because the problems are with undersea cabling, they are not easy to fix. "It might be a while before the issues are resolved," one industry source told Web User.

Customers of most major ISPs are understood to have experienced problems, with reports of finding email and web access slow or being unable to connect.

Telewest was one of the few ISPs to acknowledge the problems on its help forum. It said it wasn't clear what the problem was but at one point attributed it to a malicious attack on the website of Zone Labs, which makes the popular ZoneAlarm security software.

However, Zone Labs has told Web User that there "was definitely not an attack on the website". Linx said any such attack would not explain yesterday's cable failures.

NTL also reported problems on Tuesday "caused by the failure of the major transatlantic network connection, provided by one of our suppliers." It said the fault occurred at around 4pm and was fixed at about 1am. "Although knock-on problems may have caused longer outages for some customers," the company added.

Map of the TAT-14 network, which caused yesterday's problems

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