TalkTalk broadband grinds to a halt in 0208 areas

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The Independent Online

TalkTalk, one of the market leaders in broadband services, is struggling to cope with demand in parts of the country.

The service, which is owned by The Carphone Warehouse and offers bundled telephone and ADSL lines, has reached "capacity" in the outer London 0208 dial-code area, according to a member of the complaints team.

The system has been grinding to a halt at peak times, and there have been around 2,000 complaints over non-connectivity issues.

Customer services are not aware of the scale of the problem and so not informing affected customers, according to the complaints department. It says TalkTalk is waiting on Opal, the telecoms subsidiary of The Carphone Warehouse that provides the infrastructure for its broadband network, to assign extra bandwidth. Opal has missed several of its deadlines this month but the firm has assured TalkTalk that it will have provided a major boost to capacity at some point this week.

TalkTalk is now third in the UK market for broadband and this month announced half-year profits of £56m, up from £14m. Half of its users now connect using The Carphone Warehouse's fixed-line business, which has announced a £39m profit, up from an £11m loss last year. It has 2.5 million customers in the UK, although its press office would not confirm how many of those are within the affected 0208 area.

However, an email, sent from the office of The Carphone Warehouse's chief executive, Charles Dunstone, acknowledges there are significant problems: "In the 0208 areas of London, all exchanges are affected by intermittent bandwidth problems."