Update A fire at a BT building in central London is causing widespread landline, internet and mobile network problems, according to reports.
A blaze at Burne House in North Paddington was reported this morning.
According to Gradwell, a business ISP, 437 local exchanges and up to 37,500 Datastream circuits have been affected. It said the fire was having nationwide repercussions on communications.
Vodafone has told customers its network was also hit by the incident.
BT said in a statement: "Following a fire at a BT exchange in the Paddington area, customers in parts of North and West London may be experiencing a loss of broadband and/or telephone service. Customers in other parts of the country may also be affected."
The company was still assessing the impact of the damage, it said, "but will only know the full extent of the impact once the site has been declared safe and our engineers are able to enter the building. We will issue a further update once we have more information on the incident." ®
Gradwell have posted an update, including a list of over 400 affected exchanges, here.
While fire was the problem earlier down in Paddington, flooding is the issue now apparently. Famine, pestilence, war and a plague of boils are surely not far behind.
In a further statement, BT said:
“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. 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. We will issue further updates as the situation changes.
“Any customers needing to make calls to the emergency services who have a problem using their phones are advised to do so byusing their mobile phone, or alternatively by using a friend or neighbour's working phone.”
The firm also said that the Paddington fire and flood had affected no more than 30 exchanges.
BT has clarified the chain of events. As it currently understands the incident, flooding caused an electrical fire. The fire brigade attended and "addressed" the fire, a spokeswoman said. The root cause of the major outage is thought to be the flooding.