Virgin Media Ireland says outage wasn’t caused by increased usage

28 Apr 2020

Image: © ViDi Studio/

Virgin Media said that broadband connection issues affecting customers in Ireland and the UK were caused by a ‘technical fault’ and have now been resolved.

Yesterday (27 April), Virgin Media broadband customers in Ireland and the UK were affected by a series of outages from 5pm onwards.

Users reported that home broadband services were cutting out for short periods of time on an intermittent basis. Some also reported that their mobile internet connection was down.

This morning, Virgin Media Ireland said that the issues were resolved. According to RTÉ, the company said the issue was caused by a “technical fault” on its network, rather than increased usage or stretched capacity.

According to Downdetector, connectivity issues with Virgin Media Ireland were reported by customers in areas across the country, including Dublin, Cork, Galway and the south-east. The company has 380,000 broadband customers in Ireland.

The Guardian reported that millions of Virgin Media UK customers were also affected, with outages in London, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and other major cities.

Resolving the issue

When customers began reporting issues yesterday evening, Virgin Media Ireland said that its teams were working “flat out” to address issues with the service.

Today, the company tweeted that the issues have been resolved and apologised for any inconvenience the outage may have caused. However, some customers were still reporting that they were having connectivity issues.

The outage comes as millions of people in Ireland and the UK are relying on home internet connections for work and entertainment while they stay at home to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

According to BBC, users of other broadband networks in the UK – including BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone – also reported outages on Downdetector for a brief time shortly after midnight last night.

Shifting network traffic

Although Virgin Media said that outages in Ireland and the UK were not caused by increased internet usage over the last few weeks, it is expected that service providers and customers may experience some changes as demand on home internet services remains high.

Last month, EU Commissioner for internal market and services Thierry Breton warned that an increase in video conferencing and online classes, followed by evenings of streaming video and movies, may put Europe’s broadband infrastructure under strain.

Ericsson recently examined the changing traffic patterns in global networks to see what communications service providers can do to meet the increased demand. The company said that there has been a significant shift in network traffic moving from city centres to suburban and residential areas.

With fewer people travelling and more working from home, traffic is increasing on residential Wi-Fi networks, with growth of between 20pc to 100pc, depending on the area. Ericsson added that service providers have “reacted quickly” to adapt to the unusual circumstances.

The company said that providers should plan carefully and monitor any traffic changes, considering network optimisation where it may be needed or re-examining how networks deal with high-load situations on mobile broadband networks.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic