back to article ntl:Telewest forgets who its customers are

Some Virgin customers have been without ADSL services since this morning thanks to a breakdown in authentication, though things should be back to normal now. The problem was with ntl:Telewest Business division, which started choking at 08.30 this morning when the servers responsible for checking usernames and passwords failed …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Outsourcing the delivery does not relieve you of the responsibility

    Outsourcing the delivery does not relieve the service owner of the responsibility of delivering the service, neither in common sense nor in the legal sense.

    Put another way, it may not have been ntl:Telewest's (aren't they Virgin then?) fault, but it's still their responsibility. Off with their heads, down with their SLAs, whatever.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Not fixed Yet

    Dont think it fixed. Still a large number of customers are still down.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Bottom Rung

    In fairness ADSL is the bottom rung of what could be called credible business internet and unfortunately you get what you pay for. My guess, as we are 2mb leased with a 4 hour SLA, that ADSL is far worse and NTL are well within the SLA on this. My advice, if you afford it, is get another service from another provider as backup.

  4. Cthonus

    TW Fail

    No it's not back up and running. Though TW aren't exactly hot off the mark telling you when it's fixed - we've been having intermittent DSL issues since last Friday and all TW do is blame someone else.

    Generally that someone else is BT....

  5. adam payne

    Not there fault?!?!?!?!?!?!

    Help me out here because my struggling with the whole this stuff is outside our network therefore not out fault.

    Is that third party Virgin?

    When ringing up NTL business support they don't know who we are and tell us we don't have a connection with them. After several call transfers we get somewhere.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    why bother with passwords?

    why does ADSL even need passwords? it's not like someone's going to break into my house with their own ADSL modem and try to use it is it?

    1. Disco-Legend-Zeke

      DSL passwords...

      ...allow the operator to turn a customer off at the non-drop of a dime. Frequently, as in our case, a virtual ISP toggles the customer on and off by making entries into a RADIUS server, thus requiring no access to TELCO equipment or computers once the original line is set up.

      We actually do have one customer that takes her ADSL modem from her summer home in some Northern clime to her warm and toasty Arizona Winter quarters.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    What happened was that Phorm equipment was hacked by the Chinese just at the moment that Google was trying to suck all the data out of Beijing, meanwhile..........

  8. Anonymous Coward


    NTL originally outsourced their IT to IBM - and TUPE'd a load of people at the same time. This was a few years back so could conceivably have changed supplier in the meantime but I don't recall seeing any announcement.

  9. Optymystic

    No one was to blame

    Judge to the Ramsbottoms (Albert and the Lion)

  10. Simon Neill

    "Its not our fault....

    ...we bought our servers from a guy on the street who looked like jesus for 2 pies from gregs. Its his fault for supplying inferior kit"

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Dear Virgin Media

    I'm sorry my last payment did not reach you. This was due to an error in my outsourced payment service provider, and beyond my control. I am currently working closely with my payment provider to rectify the situation.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3rd Party is.......

    .... BT Wholesale.

    All LLU unbundled providers, with the exception of 1 or 2, use kit managed by BT Wholesale / BT Openreach (they outsource physical management to Alcatel) - as someone else eluded to, a RADIUS username/password is required to authenticate - the authentication is done on BT servers.... so as much as it pains me to say it, this probably wasn't NTL/TW's fault.

  13. Ricky H

    proof that legacy customers get left behind

    this further confirms my belief that legacy customers get left behind. you would be far better asking to be upgraded or side graded to whatever the current owner is offering. not only could you negotiate a really awesome deal for being a long standing customer, but you won't suddenly get dropped when your account gets forgotten about.

    in the past ISPs bought and sold each other all the time causing all sorts of confusion that customer service would have to sort out.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could be worse at least they didn't blame the customer

    Yep, if it was here in the USA and you were a customer of Verizon through one of their broadband services then they will spend many hours telling you that you have changed a setting and then screw up every setting that was set perfectly on your computer and after many hours on the phone they will say that it is something you have done and that it is all your fault.

    Finally after a further few hours of going round in circles they will admit they have a problem and that you will have to sit it out and wait for your connection to come back. Unfortunately by this time they have messed with so many settings that your computer will no longer make a connection with the network when it comes back online.

    Why can't these companies that supply these services get a backbone and say WE SCREWED IT UP AND IT IS OUR FAULT.

  15. My New Handle

    The age of accountability is over

    Led by our politicos, it is no surprise to see enterprise wear thick coats of teflon. I reckon that I am well out of Virgin Media nee Telewest, the shower of shites that they were.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blame someone else

    "...owned and managed by a third party"

    Who cares? Is this third party the one that takes the money and with whom the customer contract exists? Thought not. Will they start blaming the poor quality toilet paper delivered by their sanitation outsourcer for the discomfort of key staff causing a chain of events that leads to network meltdown.

    Perhaps they should move into sanitation if the ISP business doesn't agree with them - they've certainly plenty of experience in talking shit.

  17. captain kangaroo

    Virgin, ntl Telewest confusion.

    Once there were dozens of little cable companies, and for a while this was good...

    Then came Cabletel, and Telewest, backed by big American banks, who between them acquired almost all of the cable companies, including the Independent Broadcasting Authority's privatised network - "National Transcommunications Limited" - Cabletel adopted their acronym as their new name ntl:).

    The Broadcast network was sold off and turned into Arqiva. Telewest then bought ntl:, although they told the BBC, ntl: bought Telewest to avoid a contractual penalty, due to a change-of-ownership clause written into the agreement for UKTV, a joint venture with Telewest's Flextech content division. "ntl: Telewest" then bought into the Virgin brand, while acquiring in the process. Thus creating the following:

    Virgin Media - Internet, TV, Telephony, Mobile.

    ntl:Telewest Business - Business data, and Telephony.

    These two distinct entities are part of the "VirginMedia Group Of Companies".

    As for this recent ADSL Radius issue, that's internal. The support is 3rd party vendor support, but that's common as hardware support partners are rarely internal unless the hardware was exclusively developed by the company.

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