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Author Topic: Major outage at broadband biz 186k  (Read 5005 times)

tbailey2

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Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« on: December 13, 2016, 03:38:39 PM »

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. The company has not provided an update as to when it expects services to be running.

"Their entire broadband estate seems to die," he said. "There was no warning or announcements, just the plug pulled out."

He added: "It's not the first time that 186k have had 'issues' but this is a new one to me. We are frantically trying to expedite new DSL/FTTC lines for our customers."

Another customer told The Register: "We're currently trying to get an answer on what’s going on, but their partner support is an automated message, and no email response or fuller statement has been issued."

Most of Leeds-based 186k's bandwidth comes from BT Wholesale, which it sells as a package to small businesses and home users.

More at The Register
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kitz

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2016, 04:35:31 PM »

Wow.  Didnt 186k have something to do with the notorious e7even that went bust about 8 years ago?  Their customers also suddenly found themselves without internet. Basically they were retailing broadband at a totally unviable price which would give them any profit.   From memory they also swallowed a couple of other SPs such as Netservices. 

I notice there is also some issue with Fast.co.uk whom appear to have been reselling their services.  I thought Fast were part of Dark Group who at one point had some of their own network.  However it would appear Dark Group now seem to be concentrating more on hosting than service provision :/

What a mess for those EU's who could find themselves without broadband over xmas.  :(
One consolation is that with them being BTw based, then other BTw based ISPs may be able to perform a standard migration in 5 working days.  Not sure about LLU timescale, especially Sky which seem to take a bit longer..  Since no MAC keys required these days for anything, it may be possible to expedite if the EU is willing to pay.
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renluop

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2016, 06:41:20 PM »

Incidentally there were two name changes in July this year, and accounts are overdue.
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NEXUS2345

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2016, 09:04:02 PM »

According to A&A, they have managed to move over 186k (the company not the value) customers that were on BTw over within about 12 hours. They have also managed to move some over to TTB backhaul as well, so it appears TTB LLU have got a very short lead time in some cases.
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Chrysalis

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2016, 05:11:19 PM »

Looks like a financial issue at the provider, I cannot see what else it would be.

Either they have not paid BTw or some other supplier and continue to be unable/refuse to pay.

Or someone has decided they dont like the profit/loss margin and just terminated the operation.

Ofcom if a proper regulator should not allow providers to just shut up shop with no advanced notice, so I think a example should be made of them.

Kitz sadly the lack of MAC keys has actually slowed things down as the gaining provider is required to wait for X amount of days before submitting request to BTw/openreach (I forgot how many).
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 05:14:45 PM by Chrysalis »
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NEXUS2345

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2016, 06:02:19 PM »

Considering that they terminated the connections, there is no need for the new ISP to contact the old ISP. They can commence an order straight away.

According to ISP Review, the supplier they failed to pay was not BT Wholesale nor did they have a direct business relationship with TalkTalk Business/Wholesale. They did however use a different supplier who DOES use TTB. They also appear to have been using Fluidata (FluidOne) for 20CN lines, and are able to offer same day switchover to their recommended partner ISPs, even if they use BTw back haul. They list these ISPs as being Net365, Abzorb Data, and IDNet. People on the TalkTalk networks appear to be getting online very quickly as well.

Some are having luck with BT lines, others not so much. If you are on a BT line and being given a live date after christmas, once you receive your login details, put them into your router immediately, as there may be a chance that your service goes live sooner.
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Chrysalis

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2016, 06:39:12 PM »

Ok so the system doesnt apply in this situation, thats good news.
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Weaver

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2016, 05:15:11 PM »

Is this in fact rather more than an "outage", do we think?

So is it the case that what I assumed from reading ispreview is not fair, that fast.co.uk hasn't gone bust, it's rather that their supplier hasn't paid their bill and they may or may not have had it?

So there is a possibility albeit perhaps slim that fast.co.uk might stagger on?

How did the unfortunate migrants end up at the door of AA etc then? (and IDNet? Aquiss?) Did they have to find themselves some alternative service quick without any guidance, or did someone arrange something for them?

De-confusing Weaver: Do we think at this point that the issue at the bottom of all this is that Fluidata is a supplier to a supplier and didn't get its money due from 186k which then stuffed fast.co.uk and possibly other brands / VISPs?
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 05:25:55 PM by burakkucat »
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NEXUS2345

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2016, 05:40:44 PM »

186k couldn't afford to pay someone, because they may have been operating at too slim a margin. As a result, they just simply told their supplier they couldn't pay them, so a cease went through the system on all the broadband lines. 186k told everyone to find a different ISP, and because many of them were on these small vISPs, which tend to focus on support more than minimising costs, they decided to go with people like A&A, Zen, Aquiss, IDNet, and others. Some may have gone to them simply for the guarantee to have their lines back online before christmas, which is also perfectly reasonable.
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Weaver

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2016, 06:02:56 PM »

Chrysalis wrote:
> so I think a example should be made of them.

Agreed. What a nightmare for those users, worry before xmas for families, old folks and people who really need to keep in touch and business owners trying to get some work done at this hectic time of year.

I wonder how much warning users got?

Idea, v rough: perhaps Ofcom should require suppliers to notify Ofcom before pulling the plug on an ISP’s service and there should be (i) some mandatory financial reserve - like a deposit, I don't know the correct financial concepts / terminology - that ensures continued supply of service for something like ten days or whatever it takes for users to switch, and (ii) some mechanism whereby Ofcom can ensure that ultimate end-users all do get notified immediately the moment the clock starts running.
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kitz

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2016, 06:27:20 PM »

Quote
Chrysalis wrote:
> so I think a example should be made of them.

Agreed.  However not sure how OFCOM could possibly enforce it.   
If the company has gone bust and no longer supplying any services, what penalty would they be able to impose?

The ISP will have had prior notice from BTw that services will be suspended.  I suppose the ISP could if they wished have notified all users that service connectivity would cease on 'x' date.


However, similar to most companies (regardless of what service they sell or provide) that are on the verge of going into insolvency/bankruptcy, consumers are never warned.  They continue to try to take every penny they can, until the day the bailiffs walk in.
We've seen this happen not just in the ISP industry, but many different types of retailers. ie windows, furniture, electricals.   Companies continue to take deposits & funds - despite knowing they are about to go under.  :(



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Weaver

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2016, 12:09:54 AM »

I'm thinking that perhaps something could be done in the case where it is a B2B supplier that is pulling the plug on an ISP, not simply an ISP ceasing trading. I wonder if that could be fixed.
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Chrysalis

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2016, 05:09:07 AM »

Kitz it depends really, fast.co.uk as a entity still exists for example, they didnt just sell broadband.

But directors tend to try to split off different parts of the business so one part can fail without affecting the other, whether thats the case here I dont know but ofcom I think should look into it and if possible make an example of them.  Else it sends a message its ok to pull the rug at any given moment. 

Quote
However, similar to most companies (regardless of what service they sell or provide) that are on the verge of going into insolvency/bankruptcy, consumers are never warned.  They continue to try to take every penny they can, until the day the bailiffs walk in.

Agreed its a problem in many sectors, especially retail, how often do we see them staying open for the christmas rush and then go bust in january., or even christmas eve/boxing day.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2016, 05:11:23 AM by Chrysalis »
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c6em

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2016, 08:19:26 AM »

The going bust in January scenario is often due to how the quarter rent payments are due on premises. So its quite common to find a firm hopes that a Christmas surge will tie them over for a bit and when it does not happen they go bust.

Part of the problem of forewarning to some or lesser extent that a company was in or likely to be trouble is that it would result in the equivalent of a bank run with everyone who could/had time to do etc leaving en-masse: thereby creating the very problem it was designed to avert.
Then again I'm sure we would all be surprised how close to bankruptcy most companies really are.  Where do you stop?
Do you consider a company totally reliant on a long term lender/financier or say one running at short term loss to build up a customer base as one not to do business with and potentially in trouble?  All that lender has to do is pull the plug tomorrow and the business would collapse.

Comparison has been made with a recent failure of an electric supplier and how the accounts were maintained and no one got cut off and alternative arrangements are being made.  The difference being that your electric supplier is in reality merely a broker between the supplier and you - your electric does not actually physically come from them - unlike your ISP for broadband where the product(data) does go through their own/rented equipment.
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Weaver

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Re: Major outage at broadband biz 186k
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2016, 10:37:10 AM »

In my half-baked suggestion, the onus would be on Fluidata to do the right thing and notify Ofcom. It's not that there would be a reliance on Fast et al doing the right thing.
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