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Communications The Internet

Major UK Comms Backbone Bunker Burned Out 309

evilandi writes "The BBC are reporting that much of Manchester, England is without telephone service following a fire in a major underground tunnel system. The site in question is strongly suspected to be the 'Guardian' nuclear communications bunker system which is one of the main three UK subterranean communications backbone bunkers. The giveaway is this regional BBC news story which mentions Chapel Street, one of the very few entrance/exit points to the 'Guardian' system. If confirmed, Manchester could be without wired communications for some time. The MANAP Manchester Network Access Point regional Internet hub is officially reporting nothing, but a number of UK admins are seeing significant disruption."
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Major UK Comms Backbone Bunker Burned Out

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  • Strange (Score:4, Funny)

    by RickoniX ( 667001 ) <RickoniX@R3.14159ickoniX.com minus pi> on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:47PM (#8708556) Homepage
    First verizon knocks out e911 service in NYC, now a backbone goes out in the UK, you'd think it wasn't a coincidence
  • Manchester Unplugged (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:47PM (#8708558) Homepage Journal
    The story as carried by The Register [theregister.co.uk]

    I wonder how british Amatuer Radio is doing.

    About ten years ago we had a fire in an electrical cage under the computer room. Large stacks of cable had been laying about in the cage, where some brilliant person decided to pile several boxes of paper, too. Sparks from construction work smoldered in the paper and, despite the cable insullation being fire resistant, with enough heat it burns like petrol. Black soot settled everywhere, as smoke went into the ventillation system and all but one workstation were out (somehow the powermains and one line failed to short out) We were in during the weekend and laid enough cable to bring up basic services by the following Monday, but inhaled unknown quantities of asbestos and compounds released from the burnt plastic and rubber.

    In the end the failure of fire alarms was blamed on the fire, too, but the firemarshall found the wires for it (which are supposed to survive fire) had been disconnected for years.

    It'll be interesting to see how this all came about.

    • Sorry, this one is irresistable:

      Looks like someone DID carry coals to Manchester!

    • by Servo ( 9177 )
      We were in during the weekend and laid enough cable to bring up basic services by the following Monday, but inhaled unknown quantities of asbestos and compounds released from the burnt plastic and rubber.

      Since when does rubber and plastic contain asbestos?
    • Asbestos? WTF? Asbestos has never been used for insulating individule cables, though possibly cable ducts. Had your toxic cables been insulated with asbestos, they wouldnt have caught fire in the first place.

  • Manchester... (Score:2, Informative)

    I live in the area and have heard nothing. My phones and internet work just fine.
  • Northeners (Score:4, Funny)

    by MrWim ( 760798 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:48PM (#8708572)
    It's not too much of a worry. There's only about 6 people in manchester with telephones. They only just got fire you know
    • Re:Northeners (Score:5, Informative)

      by plugger ( 450839 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:10PM (#8708812) Homepage
      No, I think you will find it's one of the places where the industrial revolution started.
      • by technos ( 73414 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:25PM (#8708944) Homepage Journal
        It's terribly common for the British (those living outside Manchester, at least), to refer to it as backward.

        It's kind of like what the US does with reference to anyone from the Deep South..
        • Re:Northeners (Score:3, Informative)

          You're getting Manchester confused with Bristol (ooo arr ooo arr). Everyone in London knows Manchester is famous for perpetual rain and gun crime. I had never heard it referred to as being backward, what with its importance within the UK in football, music, industry, computing, etc. and of course "Queer as folk" the TV series :-)

          Get your stereotypes right! Otherwise it's like saying that people from Maine are well-known as "red-necks".

    • Re:Northeners (Score:5, Informative)

      by Goth Biker Babe ( 311502 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:28PM (#8708959) Homepage Journal
      Far from being the backward place you believe it to be Manchester was one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution; one end of one of the earliest Railway systems in the world (the Liverpool to Manchester for which speed trials were held where Stephenson's Rocket [sciencemuseum.org.uk] won); and the birthplace of digital stored program computers [stanford.edu].
      • Fortunately, Southern England has already experienced a cultural revolution and is capable of recognising humour...

        *ahem*
        • Re:Northeners (Score:3, Insightful)

          I suppose if you live down south you need a sense of humour what with the cost of housing, cost of living, number of people and time spent sat in traffic jams or squeezed in to public transport.
    • It's not too much of a worry. There's only about 6 people in manchester with telephones. They only just got fire you know

      Probably a safe bet that all the copper that they had down there will go, replaced by glass. Left to their own devices, whomever was owner of the communications cables down there was regularly trying to get just a little bit more out of copper and resisting the expense of going to fibre. The hurdle has now been cleared to replace it as quick as they can, which will be fastest to put

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:48PM (#8708577)
    Cold-War History in Manchester
    Posting anonymously to avoid karma whoring. No troll text, I promise!

    - - - - -

    Cold-War History in Manchester
    The Guardian Underground Telephone Exchange

    Ever since I moved to Manchester in 1986 I've heard rumours about secret underground installations under the city centre. I particularly remember being told on several occasions about a secret nuclear bunker under Piccadilly Gardens. I have since found out that there is some truth behind these rumours. This web site reports my findings.

    Warning

    The Guardian Underground Telephone Exchange is NOT open to the public. Attempting to gain unauthorised access is trespass. Often it is very dangerous too: on more than one occasion people have died in the process of trying to gain access to such sites.

    If you attempt to enter a defence related site, even an apparently unused one, you should expect an unpleasant encounter with military police.

    Please do not pester site owners to gain access, this causes irritation to many of them.

    Instead, please join one of the specialist societies that can organise visits properly.

    Most of what I found out came from the excellent and highly recommended book:

    War Plan UK: The Secret Truth about Britain's "Civil Defence"
    by [http://www.gn.apc.org/duncan/]Duncan Campbell
    Published by Paladin Books in 1983
    (Unfortunately it is now out of print)

    This book includes a map and description of the Guardian Underground Telephone Exchange and deep level tunnel system in Manchester. Duncan Campbell has kindly given me permission to reproduce this information here:

    I have had to remove the map at the request of the Geographers' A-Z Map Co Ltd.

    Manchester Guardian is an underground telephone exchange in the centre of Manchester built in 1954. It is 112 feet (34m) below ground and cost 4 million to construct. The main tunnel, one thousand feet long and twenty-five feet wide (300m by 7m), lies below buildings in Back George Street, linking up to an anonymous and unmarked surface building containing the entrance lifts and ventilator shafts. There are also access shafts in the Rutherford telephone exchange in George Street.

    Its purpose was to resist a Hiroshima sized twenty-kiloton atom bomb, and preserve essential communications links even if the centre of Manchester had been flattened.

    A deep level tunnel system runs east and west from Guardian. A mile-long (1.3km) tunnel runs west to Salford, and a thousand-yard (700m) tunnel runs to Lockton Close in Ardwick, where a modernised ventilator building marks the south-eastern extension of the Manchester deep level tunnels.

    In the event of an attack warning, Guardian's main entry shaft was to have been sealed by a thirty-five-ton concrete slab that could be positioned over the entrance. Staff could escape either by using built-in hydraulic jacks to lift the slab (if covered with debris) some weeks after attack, or via the deep level tunnels to Ardwick and Salford. Emergency stores contained six weeks' supply of food rations, and Guardian had its own artesian well, generators, fuel tanks, and artificial windows and scenery painted onto rest-room walls.

    The exchange was to survive even if the city it served was destroyed.

    The Manchester Guardian telephone exchange and deep level tunnels were one of several such systems built in the 50s. Similar installations can be found under London (Kingsway) and [http://www.birminghamanchor.co.uk/]Birmingham (Anchor).

    By the time the exchange and tunnels were complete they were entirely vulnerable to more powerful Soviet H-bombs.

    I decided to try to locate and photograph the shafts and surface buildings described in "War Plan UK". To my surprise I found the surface buildings still intact, although they seemed to be in a bad state of repair. Their existence is still not common knowledge in Manchester.

    I wonder how much is left of the underground installations.

    Ard
    • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:57PM (#8708677) Journal
      It's interesting, and not surprising, to see a Duncan Campbell byline on the research. Duncan became well-known in the mid-90s for doing the journalistic work to publicize the NSA's Echelon wiretapping-the-world system. http://www.gn.apc.org/duncan/ [apc.org] has some older articles of his.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:05PM (#8708771)
      Posting anonymously to avoid karma whoring. No troll text, I promise!

      - - - - -

      Cold-War History in Manchester
      The Guardian Underground Telephone Exchange
      REPLY TO THE SITE FROM BT MANCHESTER

      For general info having scanned through your site:

      1. The exchange is still used as a secure cable route -avoids digging up the city.

      2. It is over 200' deep and is unaffected by foundations etc.

      3. All equipment is largely intact except for the telephone exchange elements which were removed to comply with EEC legislation regarding some of their components (about 3 years ago)

      4. "was particularly surprised to see the piano and pool table in the recreation room. They were planning to have quite a relaxing time sitting out Armageddon down there!"

      Don't forget we had Power Engineers working down there until 1997 -this was their rest room!

      5. "The people of Manchester paid a great deal of money for the construction of this bunker, they were given no choice in the matter, it was built without their knowledge and it was obsolete before it was completed, for these reasons I believe we should be given access to it!"

      In actual fact I believe that it wasn't paid for by the British Government let alone Manchester - it was largely paid for by NATO which in those days meant America. Since then it has been maintained at the Post Office/BT's expense

      BT are unable to open the site to the public for a variety of reasons mainly concerning safety and security.

      26 August 1999

      If anyone reading this has any more information on the underground installations in Manchester please email me at: atomic!cybertrn.demon.co.uk

      Copyright 2000 (C) George Coney
      Last updated 24 January 2000
  • by thebra ( 707939 ) * on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:49PM (#8708587) Homepage Journal
    "while AOL said its customers in the area, who are connected to the BT network, would also experience problems."
    ...and they were so close to figuring out how to use internet...
    • Man! (Score:3, Funny)

      by LordKazan ( 558383 )
      I was almost to beating the internet! The last boss is a pain in the rear!
      I almost beat him and BLAMMO the connection dies! ARG!!!


      hehehe
    • *chuckle* Ha. Ha. Heh.

      BWAHAHAHAHAAAAA!

      *sniff* *wipes tear*

      Man, oh man....

      You owe me one bowl of cheerios, you insensitive clod.

  • yay (Score:2, Funny)

    by monkease ( 726622 )
    does this mean none of those, "i use pounds, you insensitive clod" / "i have members of parliament, you insensitive clod" / "(insert something british here), you insensitive clod" posts today?

    just kidding--i love you guys. hope this gets fixed soon!
  • London is unaffected (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:51PM (#8708604) Journal
    At least, I got a message from worldpay earlier this afternoon that their server were being affected, but I've not noticed anything myself. Most of the UK's internet traffic goes through LInX anyway, which is pretty damn secure, so I'd be surprised to see any real IP issues, even if BT are in a bit of a pickle ...

    Simon
  • by Ion Berkley ( 35404 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:52PM (#8708624)
    Manchester has a population comfortably in excess of 1 Million people and a large buisness centre. 100K dead telephones represents only a small but significant amount of the city.
    • by Dynamoo ( 527749 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:59PM (#8708708) Homepage
      100K dead lines in the central business district is a wipeout, plus most data systems have been wiped out and the mobile telephone system is struggling with all the extra load.

      We've got patchy and intermittant ISDN connectivity to our Manchester office, but we're not expecting anything close to even a normal backup service for days. We've shunted work out to other regional offices to cover.

      OK, it's bad, but worse things have happened. Remember when the IRA blew Manchester city centre up? No lives have been lost and everything will be back to normal soon. ish.

      • I live in Manchester, about five minutes walk from one of the Guardian access points. My mobile is fine, and given that I'm typing this, so is my data.
      • It will be interesting to see how the outages look geographicly. Just reading the description of the layout of the tunnel system and the limted egress points I would expect long distance trunks to be far more affected than local exchanges as it seems BT uses it as a ways of bringing in new backhauls to the city centre without civil works. In many ways I was expecting the affects on the city centre telephone service to be quite limited. It will also be interesting to see if the data outage is a reflection on
  • by Dark Lord Seth ( 584963 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:53PM (#8708639) Journal
    Pinging guardian.co.uk [212.187.153.21] with 32 bytes of data:

    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.

    Ping statistics for 212.187.153.21:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 0, Burned to a crisp = 4 (100% loss),
    Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 0ms, Average = 0ms
  • by mehtajr ( 718558 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:54PM (#8708641)

    "People experiencing problems with their telephones were also asked not to report the fault."

    Too bad they told them to wait. I can see it now, thousands of people screaming in the general direction of the phone company's office. A modern day, less funny, Monty Python sketch waiting to happen.
  • air in the tunnels? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tedshultz ( 596089 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:54PM (#8708652)
    I was under the impression that many of these tunnels were filled with inert gasses, such as SF6 to prevent this exact sort of problem. I assume its very hard to keep an old tunnel air tight, but I would expect it would be a higher priority to keep at the major backbones air free.. is this practice not as common as I thought?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:55PM (#8708665)
    'Cause we all know they don't have backbones.
  • by will ( 6647 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:01PM (#8708724) Homepage
    This tunnel was described on our regional BBC tv news as a 'secret conduit between Manchester and Salford built during the cold war to safeguard communications'. I quote roughly. They also mentioned that it was 40 metres down.

    All this was accompanied by some very Dr Strangelove images of corrugated tunnels and antiquated switchgear, a smooth man from British Telecom (who seemed very calm for someone whose secret underground nuclear bunker was on fire) and the sad beeping of disconnected call centre workers trying to close deals with each other.
    • Is it a co-incidence that you would mention Dr. Strangelove with Britain being the home of Jack The Ripper?

      Where are all the mineshaft's to protect us from the Cobalt-Thorium G? And, where can I find the catalog so that I can choose the 10 woman I'm suposed to service?

      Yeah, this is somewhat off topic, but I'm having a crappy day and any kind of diversion is a good thing.

      myke
  • by PatrickThomson ( 712694 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:01PM (#8708729)
    BT and vodaphone are down, Sporadic towns as far out as chapel-en-le-frith are out, internet is out, 50 firemen were in the tunnel at one point, and I think a 6kv line was involved. Fortunately my Aunt lives far enough out to still have a phone :D
  • Personal perspective (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rich ( 9681 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:01PM (#8708732) Homepage
    This morning I got I text message from my boss about the problem and left for work after seeing that my own home ADSL connection was ok. I arrived at work to find that we had no phones (other than mobiles) and the our leased line was dead. We got phones back around 1pm but the leased line was still AWOL when I left work at around 6pm.

    I visited the site of the fire (well, the ground above the site!) at lunch time, and the streets were still full of fire engines and other emergency services.

    I'm told by our ISP that they are unsure of the extent of the damage but hope to get things back by tomorrow. I left a cronjob running that should mail me here every hour and so far I've heard nothing from it, so I suspect tomorrow will be spent getting colocated facilities activated.
  • While it's probably premature to guess on how long it would take to "fix" the problem(i.e. make it so most people can use their land-lines again), do any one of our amateur POTS jockies want to take a shot at this? I don't know very much about the UK phone network, so I'm curious as to just how catastrophic this is.
    • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @09:06PM (#8710136) Journal
      The amount of time to fix it depends on what kinds of facilities they're running through the tunnel.
      • If the building that a phone switch is in catches fire, that's severely ugly, potentially weeks before most people have service.
      • Copper Cables connecting telco offices to end-users usually aren't diverse; if you lose a bundle of them, it's really annoying - splicing big fat bundles of copper takes days, and it's going to be a few days before it's safe to go into the tunnel and assess the damage, much less fix it.
      • Fiber optic long-haul trunks connecting telco offices *shouldn't* be a big problem, unless they've done a really bad job of diversity planning. They're usually arranged in ring or mesh topologies, with enough excess capacity that they can reroute the traffic around any (single) failures. In the US (at least for the telco I work for), that rerouting would happen in seconds or minutes, if there's enough capacity available to restore all the service, and the rest of it would be scrounged up with manual intervention, usually much faster than physical restoration (certainly true in this case.) For short stretches of physical restoration around damage (they have a mile here, which is a bit long), it's not uncommon to run temporary fiber above ground on poles or in as protected a route as you can cobble together, and post a bunch of guys in orange vests to watch it until they get the regular circuit rebuilt.
      • Fiber circuits to local end-users (mostly large businesses) and fibers feeding local telephone-copper concentrators are normally built in rings, with enough spacing between them that they're not supposed to have multiple failures from a single event, and restoration is simple and happens in under a second. The main exception to this is supposed to be multiple simultaneous failures - TWO street construction crews not checking before they dig, or a big flood.
      The description of the "44 bundles of 24 fibers" sounds like long-haul, but maybe it's metro ring stuff. This sounds disturbingly like they had a bunch of access that wasn't diverse enough, because they assumed that the tunnels were safe from careless backhoe drivers, but maybe it's not that bad.
  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:02PM (#8708742) Homepage Journal
    This event just goes to show how much we have come to depend on complex networks in the past few decades. I use networks in a very broad sense - networks of pipes to carry water/sewage, electrical grids, telephone networks and ofcourse the intarweb.

    Earlier, in the absense of adequate infrastructure, people used to depend on local resources - the water table (borewells/rain) for water, small local power stations/generators for electricity, and ofcourse local businesses for banking, etc.

    With the coming of the phone system and internet, we work from home, depend on phone services for emergency help, bank with businesses across the country/world, and depend on long distance communications for the most basic needs like water/electricity.

    True, these advances in technology offer a large number of benefits and conveniences, but overabundance on them can cause widespread problems due to a failure of a small part of the communication system.

    A problem with the electricity grid causes 1/4th of the nation to shut down, people take phone services for granted in order to provide/receive emergency assistance, and there are no adequate backup measures in place.

    The internet is a pretty resilient beast, but the rest of the infrastructure (telephone, electricity, water pipes (very few apartments/houses have water storage) is pretty fault-intolerant and prone to massive-widespread failure (not necessarily to the problem with the system itself - in this case a fire). The 911 problem in NYC, this fire in the UK, and ofcourse underline the fact that we either need to have an adequately fault resistant infrastructure in place, or stop overdepending on it for critical services.

  • More News (Score:5, Informative)

    by amigoro ( 761348 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:06PM (#8708778) Homepage Journal
    From Manchester Evening News [manchesteronline.co.uk]

    EMERGENCY services, homes and businesses were hit after an underground fire in Manchester city centre cut 130,000 phone lines.

    The blaze, in a tunnel by the junction of George Street and Princess Street, destroyed cables connected to the national phone network.

    Related News:

    No time limit for Manchester phone lines fix [timesonline.co.uk]
    Fire wipes out internet in Manchester [vnunet.com]
    BT tunnel fire cuts off Manchester phone lines [4ni.co.uk]
    BT fire disrupts emergency services [theregister.co.uk]
    Businesses hit by BT fire [zdnet.co.uk]
    Phones Out of Action after Fire in Tunnel [scotsman.com]
    Tunnel fire knocks out phone network [itvregions.com]

    Moderate this comment
    Negative: Offtopic [mithuro.com] Flamebait [mithuro.com] Troll [mithuro.com] Redundant [mithuro.com]
    Positive: Insightful [mithuro.com] Interesting [mithuro.com] Informative [mithuro.com] Funny [mithuro.com]

  • Credit Cards (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fiveeight ( 610936 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:11PM (#8708823)
    Got an email this afternoon from an online store saying they weren't able to handle any credit card orders at the moment because both their primary and backup link to the Barclays Banking Network was down because of a fire. I assume it's the same fire (sounds like the right area). Do have to wonder why they bother with a backup if it's running through the same facility.
  • by planckscale ( 579258 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:11PM (#8708830) Journal
    ...the fire delaying precious orders for more chips. Those near the fire were quoted as saying "Bloody fiber isn't in our diets anyway."

  • Don't worry (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:13PM (#8708844)
    They're already communicating using their backup system, which is based on semaphore [dartmouth.edu].

    This backup system is fire-proof, though it can be degraded by smoke and fog.

  • 'Guardian' nuclear communications bunker system

    If it was built to survive a nuclear war, you would think that it would be resistant to a fire.

    OK, the thing was probably built ages ago, so maybe the fire-resistant insulation has worn out or something but you would think a Nuclear Bunker would be pretty durrable.

    Was it an electrical fire?
    Was the wiring bad or worn out?
    Have they rewired it in the last 50 years or so?
    Guess they will have to now.
  • by Richard Lamont ( 27936 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:24PM (#8708931) Homepage
    American readers may be interested to learn that they - or at least their grandparents - paid for the construction of the Guardian telephone exchange under Manchester, and several others. It was a cold war NATO project to protect comms against atom bombs on the city centres. There were similar exchanges under London (Kingsway) and Birmingham (Anchor). They were built in the early 1950s, but are now obsolete. Although the underground exchanges have gone, the cable tunnels that run from these city centre locations to the ourskirts are still very much in use. Details of all of these and many other 'secret' underground structures in the UK can be found on the Subterranea Britannica [subbrit.org.uk] web site.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How are they supposed to wiretap everyone if the phones are out?!
  • Police Officer Jimmy Beck has just jumped off the top of a nearby building, after being harrassed by one Dr. Fitzgerald.

    (In case you don't get it, Chapel Street - the entrance to the Guardian system is where they filmed Jimmy Beck's swansong in his last episode of Cracker).
  • Doesn't add up? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by psyconaut ( 228947 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:44PM (#8709102)
    Guardian bunker runined, and only 130,000 lines out of service? Or are these trunks not "lines"? (Line has a number attached to it, trunk carries calls).

    -psy
    • Guardian almost certainly carries both trunks and phone lines.
      • Yet the BBC story refers to "130,000 homes and businesses" which insinuates just land lines.

        In fact, the more I read...the more it sounds like a single exchange/central office that's down...which is similar to what happened here in downtown Toronto a few years back and was fixed in about a day or so. (Major fire at a CO).

        -psy
        • The are people affected in the immediate vicinity (mainly businesses), but there are landlines seeing problems much further away.

          Also, I read a report that people may be able to phone into an affected line from further afield yet be unable to phone it from somewhere fairly local. Presumably down to BTs fairly rigid internal routing in parts of its network.

  • MaNap is fine (Score:5, Informative)

    by sprouty76 ( 523155 ) <stephen_douglas@ ... .com minus punct> on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:47PM (#8709131) Homepage
    I work at a fairly major ISP/telco based in Manchester, we're seeing no direct disruption to MaNap. MaNap isn't actually sited in a single location, it's more of a virtual entity than a physical one. Some individual sites are struggling, but that's fairly obvious.

    I live near the site of the fire, I work for a telco and yet the most significant disruption I've seen to my life was the traffic around Manchester City Centre!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:48PM (#8709141)
    ..."nuke-survivable" != "fire-resistant"?

    Did someone not tell the guys who designed and built this stuff that fire is a frequent side-effect of nuclear detonations?
  • by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:53PM (#8709193) Journal
    Being one of the early birth places of the industrial revolution is not the best thing in the world, as its infrastructure has been set in stone for decades (for phone service) or centuries (for other things). Now that the old infrastructure is burned out, it leaves room for super modern technology to be put in its place.

    The very sad part is that change only comes on the heels of disaster. Perhaps the people in that area will get wireless service until this is resolved?

    I'm sure there are places in America that are equally vulnerable, too.
  • by Rev. Rudolf ( 146245 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:54PM (#8709206) Homepage
    At work we manage WANs for a few nationwide (UK that is) customers. Each site has an ADSL connection, with ISDN as backup. Got to work this morning to find that all the Manchester ADSLs were down, but for some reason the ISDNs were still working... any idea why the ISDNs would still be working? I'd expected them all to be down.

  • BOFH (Score:4, Funny)

    by XavierItzmann ( 687234 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @06:54PM (#8709209)
    The bloody BOFH was tired of his windowless office and needed new digs.

    BOFH... England... get it?

  • With Guardian [imdb.com] down, Colossus [feoamante.com] is going to get pissed!
  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry ( 598897 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @07:41PM (#8709581)
    Ross Cook, a spokesman for BT, said that the fire was "very serious".

    "There are 44 cables in the tunnel, each containing 24 fibre optic cables, which together can carry an awful lot of traffic," said Mr Cook.

    "That is why we bury them so far underground, to protect them from being accidentally cut by people working on the road. It is too early to say how long it will take to repair until the engineers can get in there and work out how much damage has been done."

    ####

    I guess he should read slashdot before posting...
  • by gpuk ( 712102 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @07:58PM (#8709706)
    I am a student at Manchester University and have a server in the University's spin-off colocation facility (which is a MaNAP expansion member). We have experienced no downtime or outages.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 2004 @08:34PM (#8709945)
    It's your punishment for giving the world Morrisey.

Lend money to a bad debtor and he will hate you.

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