Flood At BT Exchange Plays Havoc With Phone Lines

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BT has been forced to close its North Paddington telephone exchange after it was damaged by a flood, causing widespread problems with telephone lines

Telephone lines in the north and western parts of London have been crippled, after BT was forced to close its telephone exchange in North Paddington, following a flooding problem in a basement of the building.

Speaking to eWEEK Europe UK, a spokesman for London Fire Brigade said that the incident took place in Burne Street in Marylebone.

Flood, Not Fire

“It was a flood not a fire,” confirmed the Brigade spokesman. “We were called at 7.30am this morning to reports of a flooding incident in an electrical intake room within the basement area of the building on Burne Street. Two fire engines and approximately ten fire fighters were called and left the incident at 9.50am.”

“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,” BT said in a statement emailed to eWEEK Europe UK. “Customers in other parts of the country may also be affected.”

“We are currently working on restoring services to customers, however as this is a complex incident we cannot accurately predict when all services will be restored,” said BT. “We will issue further updates as the situation changes.”

Reports suggest that the flooding incident has played havoc with telephone lines in St John’s Wood and Marylebone, but it seems that problems have spread to other parts of the capital as well, due to heavy congestion in the BT network.

A list of the dialling codes that have been affected has been published here, amid concerns that the service could be disrupted for up to 24 hours. BT advises any customers needing to make calls to the emergency services who have a problem using their phones to use their mobile phone, or borrow a friend or neighbour’s working phone.

The incident comes after BT announced its plans to upgrade around 300 exchanges across the UK over the next year to provide greater access to faster broadband networks.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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