Brian Greene, a web developer, noticed persistent problems with his Vodafone connection since September. After several visits to his home, Vodafone engineers established everything was fine at his end, and the problem lay at the exchange.
As local loop unbundling (LLU) went into effect, Vodafone took control of local exchanges for their broadband services, and Greene does not think this is a coincidence.
“They went over to LLU on 23 September from Sutton exchange, and they are knocking me off 12-20 times a day since then,” said Greene.
“But they only admitted there was a problem three weeks ago. How many others are affected?”
He said engineers he spoke to “think there is a massive problem.”
Internet providers are expected to make efficient use of IP addresses, which keep track of computers on the internet.
Idle addresses are returned to a pool of free addresses for new computers logging on.
But software problems could mean active addresses aren’t detected, knocking computers off the internet.
“Over the past few weeks there has been a service issue for a number of Vodafone at Home customers which has indeed resulted in intermittent (not total) loss of service for those customers,” a Vodafone spokesperson said.
“Those impacted would be in the high hundreds — we have about 200,000 customers overall nationwide so by far the vast majority are unaffected.”
“We have been working with our vendors on a daily basis to solve the issue and are implementing a resolution to hopefully fix the situation.”
Other users revealed similar issues.
Internet professional Barry Sweeney also experienced frequent disconnects, sometimes up to six times a day. At other times the connection dropped for up to an hour in the evenings.
“It’s terrible, disconnects are random, I might get five an hour, or one a night, there’s no pattern,” said Joe Munguia. “I’m an IT engineer, so their helpline can’t fob me off. When I do call them, they ‘test the line’ then it all starts working again.”