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Monday, October 09, 2006

Carphone: New Depths of Incompetence

My broadband connection went down at 12:45pm Friday lunchtime – the system log in the router was showing authentication failures, but I was connecting to the DSLAM. I immediately thought that TalkTalk were having problems with their Radius infrastructure.

Saturday morning and still no internet: slight shivering due to Internet withdrawal was kicking in. I ring the TalkTalk Technical Incompetence Line only to be fed a load of tosh: there must be a problem with my wireless router provider and to get in touch with the manufacturer (honest, I’m not making this up). Of course, I wouldn’t accept this nonsense and asked to speak to a supervisor whereupon the technical non-assistant asked where I was calling from – I replied “Leeds”. He put me on hold on came back too quickly for comfort and said “the internet was down”. I asked which bit of the internet - was it perhaps their Radius servers? He just replied the internet and said engineers were on the case and to try again in 24 hours.

Sunday morning – the pain still no internet – I was starting to hyperventilate

This morning – the horror still no internet – I was frothing at the mouth and had to go out and get a fix.

Scanning various bulletin boards, I found a single note that TalkTalk had been down and now would only work with an old password. I went home and tried my original TalkTalk supplied password and Bob’s Your Uncle I was back on t’internet.

Of course, for security reasons I had changed my original password and it was obvious that TalkTalk had lost a server and re-provisioned everyone with old out-of-date passwords. I guess there are still loads of TalkTalk customers who are still waiting to re-connect. In fact, I know there is because the service is running at 2Mbps tonight i.e. no extra loading on the backhaul.

What a shambolic bunch of cowboys TalkTalk are!!

The comedians are failing in the most basic of engineering tasks – backup/restore and supplying enough capacity. Charles Dunstone should take note that even employing the whole of India in his call centre will not solve the fundamental problem – the TalkTalk infrastructure is undersized and unreliable.

I had a friend around the other day and he asked “What are those IP addresses?” - which are stuck to my screen on a post-it note. I replied “Oh, those are the BT DNS servers - I use them when the TalkTalk DNSes crash”. It is even sadder that I now know them off-by-heart.