Jonathan Robinson, managing director of UK ISP NetBenefit, says customers have no recourse for the outage and no guarantees of service from ISPs. But with the burgeoning e-commerce market it is reasonable, he says, for users to demand a guaranteed level of service. "From my heart, I think it is a good idea but with everyone increasingly dependent on the Net, guaranteed service levels are not realistic," he said.
In order to prevent the sort of disruption that halted transatlantic Net traffic Monday, Robinson advises companies to use back-up suppliers for Net access. NetBenefit customers were unaffected as the company has two backbone suppliers. "The incident raises the problem of going with a single supplier. We have a degree of independence, so if one of our links goes down, another one will be available," he said. According to Robinson many UK ISPs still rely on only one backbone supplier.
The blackout on Monday occurred as the result of a severed cable near Iceland. A back-up system which should have re-routed traffic via Europe and Japan also failed to work. According to Teleglobe, which was responsible for the outage, the re-routing was not possible due to the high volume of traffic. The company claimed full service was resumed on Monday afternoon, but organisations, including ZDNet UK, were still experiencing problems on Tuesday, particularly in the morning.
Teleglobe failed to return phone calls and, contrary to initial reports, has yet to post a release explaining why it suffered the outage.