BT Clears Flooded Telephone Exchange

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BT is still working to restore services at its telephone exchange in Paddington, after a flood caused major disruption to broadband and telephone lines

One day after a basement room in its Paddington telephone exchange was flooded, BT has said it is reinstalling power to the building and restoring telephone and broadband services.

BT suffered a problem on early Wednesday morning when a flood left tens of thousands of customers in parts of North and West London experiencing major problems with their telephone and broadband services.

Some reports state that the flood was caused by an electrical fault, which in turn also sparked a fire. However a spokesman for the London Fire Brigade, speaking to eWEEK Europe UK on Wednesday, said that the incident was a purely a flooding incident and not fire-related.

High Volume Pumps

“As far we know it was a flood,” a London Fire Brigade (LFB) spokesman confirmed to eWEEK Europe UK on Thursday, although he did say that initial reports indicated it was a fire. “We got a report of smoke issuing from the building, but for us it was purely a flooding incident.”

“We had two high volume pumps which have been pumping out a lot of water,” said the LFB spokesman. “We were working with BT through the night to empty the flood water, and the water is now gone from the basement.”

“We initially thought it was a fire because of the arrival of the London Fire Brigade,” a BT spokesman said. “We are now saying that it was a major flooding incident. Our engineers have been working since yesterday, through last night, as well as today, but it is too soon to speculate when their work will be done.

“The majority of our customers are now back on broadband and telephone,” he added.

BT’s Latest Update

“Following major flooding at a BT exchange in the Paddington area, tens of thousands of customers in parts of North and West London may be experiencing a loss of broadband and/or telephone service,” said BT in an official statement. “Customers in other parts of the country may also be affected.”

“The flood water has been removed from the exchange building overnight and power is being restored,” the carrier added. “Restoration of communications services to customers is now underway, with thousands of phone and broadband customers now back in service. This work will continue throughout the day and until all services to all customers impacted are fully restored. We will issue further updates as this work progresses.”

Customers are advised that they can get recorded updates by calling 0800 1690199. BT said that any customers needing to make calls to the emergency services should using their mobile phones, or alternatively use a friend or neighbour’s working phone.

BT did also admit that a number of mobile services are also affected, so customers may not be able to make or receive calls on their mobile or may experience an intermittent service.”

There is little doubt that the impact of the flooding has had a great deal of impact in parts of London and elsewhere. Readers of the BBC news website for example said that bars and shops in the surrounding areas were only accepting cash on 31 March, as card payment systems had crashed.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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