[Update] Internet issues ease after Northern Ireland BT blaze

24 Jun 2015

Internet problems in Northern Ireland, caused by a fire at BT’s Telephone House in Belfast – impacting “thousands” of internet users – are gradually starting to clear.

*Update at 2.46pm on 24 June*

BT has issued a fuller picture to us since the publication of this article. The statement says:

“A fire which occurred in our Telephone House building in Belfast this morning has been extinguished. Thankfully there were no injuries and a full investigation as to the cause of the incident is currently underway.

“The fire disrupted the electricity supply to the building affecting a number of customers in our data centre. Work is ongoing to restore normal service as quickly as possible and we are continuing to update customers as the work progresses.

“We’d like to extend our thanks to the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue service for its prompt response and thank our customers for their patience.”

Meanwhile, Tibus reported that power has been restored to some of its systems. In emphasising that its London and Dublin operations remain unaffected, Tibus said its connected cities and co-located hosting services are up in Belfast now.

Its shared housing and dedicated housing remains down, while its email services are back up and the company is clearing the backlog.

[Original article, which appeared at 1.45pm on June 24, below]

A fire in BT’s Telephone House in Belfast has impacted “thousands” of internet users across Northern Ireland following potential damage to fibre connections.

The blaze was on the fourth floor of the May Street building this morning, with the cause “currently being investigated”, according to BT.

The fire was put out by a team of “eight firefighters wearing breathing apparatus”, while an “aerial appliance was also in use”.

However, Tibus, an internet provider which has an office in the building in question – though not on the fourth floor – and relies on BT’s services, has been informing its customers of outages and repairs all morning.

It confirmed earlier that there was no damage to its own floor, which it shares with other internet providers, but there is “almost certainly” damage to the area of the BT building that houses the various fibre links into that building.

“We understand that thousands of customers across NI are affected by this,” said Tibus.

“We’ve been told that the damage to the data centre is isolated to one room on the 4th floor. We understand that this room houses the connectivity equipment that feeds the main data centre space.”

Tibus says its email service is not functioning at the moment, but emails being made are not lost, merely queued.

The company says it is worried about how the power will be restarted in the building, which houses some of their servers.

“An ungraceful power re-provision process can cause damage to the delicate hosting gear that we (and all service providers) use to provide services. We are trying to get assurances from BT on their timescales and their plans for power re-supply.”

Tibus is running a good blog on the goings on that affected customers might want to take a look at.

Main image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic