Europe's internet wobbles after carrier update 'went wrong'

Europe's internet connections are steady again after fears that a major cable connecting Europe to the US was cut.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Connectivity woes in Europe last night thought to have been caused by a cut transatlantic cable turned out to be due to a planned — but botched — update by the International Carrier arm of Swedish-Finnish telco TeliaSonera.

Internet users across parts of Europe and Telia customers in Sweden in particular began experiencing delays from around 10pm CET on Monday when attempting to open US-based websites.

As users on The Hacker News reported, popular sites such as Reddit failed to load, while image services on Facebook and Twitter that are handled by content distribution network company Akamai were disrupted. Other services that appeared to be affected by the issue included Rackspace and Amazon when being accessed from Berlin.

Fears that Europe's internet was facing major disruption were sparked by CloudFlare, which claimed in a tweet that Telia's transatlantic cable had been cut, leaving its nodes in Prague, Warsaw, Stockholm, and Vienna out of action. A cut cable would have been bad news for Europe, given that TeliaSonera's International Carrier arm is a tier-one provider.

Fortunately, the outage wasn't caused by anything so serious. Yesterday evening Telia released a statement clarifying the network disruption was caused by "a planned update that went wrong", which was fixed by 11pm CET. According to Telia, the disruption affected traffic going towards the US and Asia.

Telia spokesperson Marcus Haglund told ZDNet the incident was caused by "human error", without going into detail about the specific cause. 

"On May 19th there was an incident caused by the human error on what should have been a non-customer affecting planned work. Customers found it hard to reach servers in USA and Asia," Haglund said.
"The issue was quickly detected and resolved and we're now working to prevent similar incidents to happen again. We apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused."

However the update misfired, its effects were picked up by CloudFlare when European traffic stopped transmitting across the transatlantic cable to the US and instead began routing through Hong Kong, the company's CEO Matthew Prince told The Register.

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