Hundreds of thousands of UK Internet users can expect as little as 30p in compensation after BT's six and a half hour blackout last week. The telecom monolith suffered a major outage on three of its 45Mbps lines that connect the UK with the US, affecting all its BTNet customers and all 100,000 BT Internet (consumer) customers. It is understood that a computer responsible for choosing the primary and secondary routes for Internet traffic had what BT termed a "high-level fault" which froze the computer and dropped the lines. A source close to BT confirmed that a sum of #50,000 is being offered to the UK's largest ISP, Demon, to cope with compensation claims from Demon customers, who suffered a severing of cross-atlantic links and a drastic reduction in other services. But Demon users are unlikely to be satisfied with the sum. Jonathan Robinson, managing director at ISP NetBenefit, said: "With about 150,000 dial up customers at Demon, that works out at about 30p each - but what about the commercial Web space (who will expect more)? Is it enough? What do you think?" "It's outrageous," commented Lorenzo Wood, managing director of London computer consultancy KBW, a Demon customer. "I expect these companies to say how they're going to prevent such a major outage again." BT refused to discuss the figure, or say what other ISPs and corporate customers are being offered. A BT spokesman confirmed that only those customers who demand compensation for the incident stand a chance of being reimbursed. "We will look at each individual case on its merit," he added. Demon also refused to discuss exact figures but said it will offer customers a choice between taking the compensation money, donating it to charity or giving it back to Demon so the ISP can improve the quality of its service. James Gardiner, marketing manager at Demon, told PC Week that once the BT route went down, "we (Demon) took over and re-routed our traffic. It obviously slowed things down and affected businesses and individuals alike with many sites outside the UK being inaccessible". BT said it is investigating the issue of why the outage occurred, but refused to comment until that process is complete.
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