BT has suffered a number of outages over the past week across the country which has left many without internet connectivity for days on end. It even at one point, last weekend, made the general news as 20,000 customers were unable to connect to the internet. It affected mainly areas in the north west of England including Scotland and Northern Ireland. The majority were back on by 30th October however users were still experiencing issues up until 3rd November.
Now obviously most consumers can survive a few days without connectivity, but for a business it makes it very difficult to carry on doing business. From dealing with suppliers, to checking statements with the bank, many companies need internet access for daily transactions let alone selling to customers. And don’t forget all those who have sensibly moved to a VoIP based telephone system who also found their phones didn’t work either. I say ‘sensibly’ because I honestly believe it is the future of voice, however if they were caught out by BT’s outage then it can’t have been setup correctly by their provider.
The reason being is that there were a number of networks, other than BT, that were still working without issue during this period. I am not putting the blame at BT’s door, because faults do happen to all networks, instead I am highlighting that contra to popular belief there are a number of networks available across the UK separate to that of BT. There is the TalkTalk network, which now encompasses the very happy Tiscali base, Virgin Media, Sky and Telefonica O2. All of which, had they been installed alongside the BT services would have meant the affected business (or consumer) could have continued to work without hindrance.
I am a great believer that the multiple provider scenario is much better than any service guarantees and provides some serious uptime. It is why all our own bonded (PureFluid) and failover (ADVANCE) technology always uses multiple carriers to ensure that network outages can not affect overall connectivity. Later this year will also see the launch of our 3G failover products which will also provide cheaper levels of backup. And while it might be all a bit of overkill for consumers at the moment, I feel that with higher adoption of VoIP and entertainment services it will become more common place in the near future.