BT Openreach warns riots are likely to disrupt broadband services

Thursday, August 11th 2011
The company revealed its maintenance works have been "severely restricted" in recent days.
BT Openreach warns riots are likely to disrupt broadband services
BT Openreach has admitted that broadband and landline services are likely to be hampered in parts of the country affected by rioting.

In a statement sent to Plusnet and other internet service providers that it supplies with wholesale broadband products, the telecoms giant insisted it will continue to operate as usual wherever possible but warned disruptions are to be expected.

Loss of broadband connectivity could be suffered on a local level in areas where Openreach is not prepared to send engineers on safety grounds, or where the police and fire services will not allow them access.

Work in several town and city centres - including parts of London - during late afternoons, evenings and at night has been "severely restricted" while the police attempt to restore order, BT's local access network business added.

Estimates from the organisation suggest that between 500 and 1,000 jobs will be left outstanding every day for at least the rest of this week, creating a sizeable backlog of orders to be fulfilled.

Each of these projects will require rescheduling and Openreach has pledged to be proactive in contacting customers to work out the most convenient time for re-appointed work to be carried out.

"There has been some impact on the service we are able to provide our customers, including missed appointments, where our engineers have been unable to access affected areas," the statement added.

"In these exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary, in certain areas, to focus our restricted resources on repair rather than provision to ensure you have service."

BT Openreach insisted it is aiming to meet all its commitments as soon as possible, as long as it remains safe to do so.

Birmingham, Gloucester, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Salford have all seen riots and looting in recent nights, potentially creating problems for broadband and landline customers in these areas.

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