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Broadband outage in North East England caused by fire in Newcastle

Network operator TalkTalk said a fire at a BT Openreach site in Newcastle had caused the issue.

TalkTalk and other broadband providers have confirmed a service outage in the North East of England was caused by a fire.

The internet provider said the issue had occurred after a fire broke out at a BT Openreach site in Newcastle.

TalkTalk had initially said the issue was caused by a cable break in Virgin Media network in the area.

But in an updated message on its website, the company said: “We’re aware that some customers in and around the North East of England are currently experiencing a loss of service due to a fire at a local BT Openreach site in Newcastle, impacting a number of providers.

“We’d like to apologise for the inconvenience and we’re working with local engineers to restore service as soon as possible.”

The company has since said the issue has been fixed, but the cause of the fire has not yet been confirmed.

Responding to customers on Twitter, BT confirmed the issue had been caused by a fire, but that this had now been contained.

In a further statement, a BT spokesman said: “We’re aware some of our customers in the Newcastle area are currently experiencing intermittent problems when trying to connect to the internet using BT broadband.

“This is due to a fire at a local site in Newcastle, which has now been contained. Our engineers are on site and working quickly to resolve this. We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.”

A number of users had taken to social media to report issues in the North East, with BT customers also reporting similar broadband problems.

BT’s service status website confirms the provider had also been affected by an outage in the Newcastle and Jesmond area.

According to website monitoring service DownDetector, both operators began having problems just before midday on Thursday.

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, said the outage was particularly troublesome given the number of people still working from home.

“The reported BT and Talk Talk outages are certainly set to frustrate those still attempting to work from home, but historically both networks have been swift in addressing the problems, so will likely be a short-term inconvenience rather than an extended issue,” he said.

“Households will still be able to connect to the internet by using their mobile device as a WIFI hotspot, although those choosing to do so in order to continue to work from home should be aware that using your mobile in such a way will use up data, and any data-intensive activity – such as video streaming – will speed up this process, so you need to be aware of your limits.”

PA