Frustrated Sky internet users have reported outages today, leaving them unable to get online.
Website Downdetector said nearly 800 people had reported issues from around 11am.
The number dropped sharply within 90 minutes, however.
London, Nottingham and Manchester appeared to be experiencing the worst issues, with 93 per cent of people saying their problem was with the internet.
Only a small proportion – 5 per cent – were experiencing problems with their TV.
A frustrated user posted on Twitter: “My wifi seems to be down and when I run your test thing it says it seems to be down at the moment.
“Issues in Sheffield S35 area?”
Another tweeted Sky asking: “my internet doesn’t seem to be working is it currently down? Doncaster dn6 area?”
However the internet provider says there are currently no known issues with its service.
Sky has more than six million internet customers in the UK, The Sun reports, while 30 per cent of UK workers are estimated to be working from home.
Courtesy of mirror.co.uk
We all know how important education is, but there are too many children and families struggling to stay connected digitally to their schools.
That’s why, as part of our schools.connected plan, we’re offering up to 250,000 free data SIMs – with 30GB data for 90 days – to children in primary and secondary schools across the UK, so they can #KeepConnecting and learning at home.
Courtesy of Vodafone.co.uk
Majorca suffers severe damage after ‘golf ball’ hail and tornado sweep island #Hailstorm #Tornado #Majorca #Spain
A violent storm and tornado have swept across Majorca, leaving a trail of destruction across the tourist hotspot in its wake.
Giant hailstones measuring up to two centimetres pelted down on the island mid-morning, bringing down hundreds of trees and causing power outages, after the storm arrived in the town of Banyalbufar on Saturday, August 29.
The damage was of such high magnitude it left Banyalbufar’s council considering whether to declare a “disaster area”.
The mayor, Mateu Ferra, expressed his concerns, saying the landscape “will take years to recover”.
He added that while there were no serious injuries, many residents “are going to need help”.
Several witnesses captured and shared footage of the storm on social media.
Some mentioned that hail the size of golf balls fell from the sky.
Motorists said strong gusts of wind had caused pine trees to fall and block the roads, preventing them from advancing.
A couple of elderly people and their daughter had to be rescued after after a fallen pine tree left them trapped inside their home, according to the Civil Guard.
Majorca firefighters, Civil Guard teams with Special Mountain Intervention Rescue Groups went to the disaster area and are still working to quantify the extent of the damage, a process which Ferra claims will be “endless”.
Hundreds of people have been left with no fresh water, according to the Majorca Daily Bulletin.
Community manager of electric company Endesa, Magdalena Frau, says staff have been working non-stop since noon on Saturday to restore electricity supplies through alternative routes.
The company has been forced to install temporary generators in the area. but locals still remain without Internet service and telephone coverage.
Frau explained it could take some time for normal services to resume due to the damage caused to the lines.
Courtesy of dailystar.co.uk
The board of BT Group is preparing to defend it against takeover approaches from industry rivals and buyout firms after the suspension of its dividend prompted its shares to slump to their lowest level in more than a decade.
Sky News has learnt that Britain’s biggest telecoms group, which now has a market capitalisation of just £10.1bn, has asked bankers at Goldman Sachs to update its bid defence strategy in recent weeks.
Robey Warshaw, a boutique headed by two of the City’s leading investment bankers and a long-standing adviser to Vodafone, may also be asked by BT to play a role, according to insiders.
Sources said this weekend that BT had not yet received a formal approach from any potential suitor.
Any such overtures would, if they materialised, be regarded as politically explosive, with BT having committed to funding a £12bn investment programme to roll out superfast fibre broadband to 20 million premises across Britain by the end of the decade.
It also occupies a critical role in constructing the 5G network in which Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer, was last month banned from involvement.
The government does not own a golden share in BT, although the possibility of a takeover occurring on anything other than a friendly basis is remote.
Ministers have promised to introduce a bill in the autumn that will shape the UK’s approach to national security and foreign investment, and BT’s role in defence and critical national infrastructure networks means a deal would require government approval.
Any buyer of the company would also be forced to make legally binding commitments about investment, jobs and future ownership.
BT’s stock has fallen so far that its equity is now capitalised at just half what many analysts believe its Openreach broadband infrastructure arm alone is worth.
On a discounted cashflow basis – a key measure which assesses the value of a company’s future cashflows – many bankers believe BT is worth at least 200p a share.
Its shares have suffered in recent years amid troubles at its Global Services division and rising forecasts of the scale of investment required to roll out full-fibre broadband and modernise the company.
Last month, BT warned that the pandemic would trigger sharp falls in revenues and profits for the full year, with the dearth of sport during the lockdown and reduced activity from business customers impairing its performance.
Philip Jansen, the chief executive, promised in April not to make any BT employees redundant for reasons related to the COVID-19 crisis for at least three months.
He also donated his own salary to charity for six months and, along with finance chief Simon Lowth, waived his entitlement to cash bonuses for two years.
BT’s decision to suspend its dividend for the first time since its privatisation more than 30 years ago made it one of scores of blue-chip corporate names – including BP and Rolls-Royce Holdings – to cut or halt shareholder payouts amid the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Some shareholders now believe, however, that BT’s traditional “poison pills” – its mammoth pension deficit and regulatory costs associated with various aspects of Ofcom’s oversight – are now outweighed by the scale of the decline in the company’s value.
Sources said this weekend that a number of large private equity firms had begun exploring the possibility of a joint bid for the whole of BT Group.
Mr Jansen made handsome returns for the buyout funds Advent International and Bain Capital – as well as himself – during his successful stint as chief executive of the payments processor Worldpay, although it was unclear whether they were among the firms looking at BT.
Factoring in a conventional takeover premium of between 30% and 50% could make any offer for BT’s shares worth more than £13bn, along with net debt of more than £11bn.
Some believe that taking BT private would enable Mr Jansen to implement a modernisation plan more swiftly than is possible in the public markets.
Its other immediate options for halting the slide in its share price appear limited.
In May, the company denied a Financial Times report that it was in talks with the Australian bank Macquarie about the sale of a stake in Openreach.
Most analysts regard the division, which is a legally separate company that is wholly owned by BT, as being worth between £14bn and £20bn on a standalone basis.
The Sunday Telegraph reported recently that BT may hand a stake in Openreach to its pension scheme as it grapples with a deficit estimated to be just shy of £10bn.
A separate transaction to offload a stake in the division to crystallise value is plausible in the medium term, analysts and shareholders believe.
The other logical bidder for BT would be Deutsche Telekom, which already holds a 12% stake in BT following the sale of the EE mobile network to the British company in 2015.
Shares in BT are now worth less than a quarter of the 441p they traded at on the day the EE deal was agreed, and are down by 37% over the last year.
The German group has previously sought to play down speculation that it would seek to buy BT, and on an earnings call earlier this month, its executives were non-committal about the prospects for further consolidation in Europe’s telecoms industry.
This year’s biggest domestic deal to date in the sector was the £31bn merger of Virgin Media, owned by Liberty Global, and O2, the mobile network owned by Telefonica.
BT, which competes with Sky News’ immediate parent company in the provision of telecoms, broadband, mobile and pay-television services, was privatised in 1984.
Board members are understood to be frustrated that the stock market has failed to recognise the scale of the investment required to modernise BT, leaving it vulnerable to a takeover approach.
The company’s chairman, Jan du Plessis, is an experienced hand in dealing with bids, having chaired SABMiller, the brewer that was sold to AB InBev in 2016 for £79bn, and Rio Tinto, which was briefly targeted by rival miner Glencore.
City bankers believe the coronavirus crisis has exposed the financial frailty of many of Britain’s most important companies, and anticipate a string of bids for them during the months ahead.
A BT spokesman declined to comment on Saturday.
Courtesy of Sky News
Massive Power Outage Briefly Knocks Out Northern Manhattan, Then Queens Goes #PowerOutage #Manhattan #NewYork #USA
A massive power outage struck Friday morning in the upper part of Manhattan, knocking out not only lights but also cellphone service, and a short time later power went out in a large chunk of Queens as well.
At one point it was pitch black as far as the eye could see along Broadway north of 73rd Street on both the east and west sides of Manhattan.
Power came back on after around 20 minutes for parts of the Upper West Side, though some spotty outage reports lingered thereafter.
“We are investigating a problem on our transmission system that caused three networks in Manhattan to lose their electric supply at about 5:13 this morning. The supply has been restored to those networks on the Upper West Side, Harlem and the Upper East Side,” Con Ed said in a statement.
About 90 minutes later, though, power went out in the Middle Village section of Queens, and the LIRR said it was experiencing signal-related delays.
Con Ed’s outage map showed about 140,000 customers without power in Manhattan as of 6 a.m., but that was down to 42,000 by 6:30 a.m. — likely remnants of the damage from Tropical Storm Isaias last Tuesday.
But the same map then showed about 27,000 customers out in Queens as of 7:30 a.m., potentially linked in part to the new outage.
Courtesy of nbcnewyork.com
BT and TalkTalk both appear to be experiencing issues this morning.
According to DownDetector, the issues with BT started at around 12:24 BST, while the problems with TalkTalk started at 12:25 BST.
While the reason for the outage remains unclear, of those who reported issues with BT, 91% said they couldn’t access the internet, 6% were having problems with their phone, and 1% with email.
Meanwhile, of those who reported problems with TalkTalk, 94% said they couldn’t access the internet, 3% were having phone problems, and 2% said they had no network or reception.
Mirror Online has contacted BT and TalkTalk for comment.
Several frustrated customers have taken to Twitter to discuss this morning’s issues.
One user said: “I don’t seem to have a broadband connection. My WiFi is accessible but no internet access when ive checker router. Is the service down? (North East England)”
Another added: “What is happening with talk talk internet at the moment, nothing seems to ever run smooth with this company internet is always down, how are you going to rectify this as people have to work from home and depend on your service.”
And one wrote: “hey BT internet is down across the whole of the Eden valley Cumbria. Not ideal when I have a dissertation to write, please sort it out.”
This isn’t the first time that one of the major networks has experienced issues in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, Sky Broadband crashed in the Yorkshire and Humber area, leaving frustrated users unable to get online.
Courtesy of mirror.co.uk
Man faces jail after admitting setting fire to Vodafone’s phone mast in Liverpool, UK #Vodafone #PhoneMast #Liverpool #UK
Phone Mast Illustration
A number of attacks on phone masts across the UK are thought to be linked to false claims the 5G network is spreading coronavirus.
A man has been warned he is facing jail after admitting setting a telephone mast on fire in Merseyside.
A number of attacks on phone masts across the country are believed to be linked to false claims that the 5G network is spreading coronavirus.
Emergency services were called to Coopers Lane, Kirkby, on 5 April following reports the Vodafone-owned telephone mast was on fire.
Nobody was injured, but the structure was damaged.
Michael Whitty, 47, pleaded guilty to arson at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday via videolink from HMP Altcourse.
Andrew Alty, defending Whitty, of Kirkby, asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared to provide further details of his client’s reasons for committing the offence.
He said: “There is more of an explanation behind this that he would like to give.”
The court heard material from the defendant’s mobile phone was being assessed by the prosecution.
Judge Andrew Menary QC adjourned the case until 8 June and warned Whitty: “You must recognise that it is inevitable there will be a custodial sentence in this case.”
Courtesy of Sky News
Coronavirus: The 5G conspiracy theory just won’t go away – here’s why it’s nonsense #COVID19 #coronavirus #5G
As a scientifically impossible conspiracy theory linking the deployment of 5G radio antennas to the coronavirus pandemic refuses to go away, Sky News explains why it is nonsense.
According to the conspiracy theories the symptoms of COVID-19 are caused by electromagnetic radiation and not by a virus.
These claims have now been tied to dozens of attacks on telecommunications engineers and masts in the UK, even as information debunking such claims is widespread.
The conspiracy theorists say the coronavirus pandemic is an illness caused by exposure to radio emissions from the new 5G antennas – despite these antennas not being present in countries such as Iran, which has seen a deadly outbreak.
The theory has even been mentioned by This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes, whose comments on 5G were described as “ill-judged” by TV regulator Ofcom.
To support their claim, the theorists have pointed out that these antennas have continued to be deployed during the lockdown in the UK. They ask why network engineers aren’t staying at home like everyone else.
This is because mobile network engineers are considered key workers maintaining critical national infrastructure. With so many of us working from home, it is crucial that telecommunications networks are functioning.
Sky News found groups on Facebook calling for the harassment of these engineers and celebrating criminal damage to the masts, with one post claiming “we are being murdered by the world government” – a common trope in conspiracy theories – and stating it is “time to fight or die”.
In reality, the risks of electromagnetic radiation are known and understood by scientists, and so the power that telecommunications masts are able to broadcast at is tightly regulated.
Even though these protections are in place, some individuals have reported health problems which they claim are a result of being exposed to levels of radiation beneath these guideline figures.
As the World Health Organisation notes, studies on these individuals have consistently found they can’t actually detect electromagnetic radiation any more accurately than individuals who don’t claim to have a special sensitivity to it.
The WHO reports there are some indications these symptoms may be due to pre-existing psychiatric conditions, as well as stress reactions as a result of worrying about the health effects of exposure, rather than being exposed.
Even then, the way that 5G could harm the body (which it can’t) simply doesn’t match the symptoms which COVID-19 patients are experiencing.
The electromagnetic spectrum. Pic: NASA
How can electromagnetic radiation cause harm?
5G is using a new part of the electromagnetic spectrum, the portion from 22GHz to 86GHz – although much less than this is being used in the UK.
This radiation is incapable of breaking molecular bonds, knocking off electrons from atoms and causing the molecule to have an electric charge – which provoke the main health dangers associated with electromagnetic radiation.
The conspiracy theorists claim that 5G exposure leads to symptoms including nausea, hair loss, and bone marrow damage – as covered by Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact-checking charity – which doesn’t match-up with the symptoms of COVID-19.
These are, however, symptoms of radiation sickness, or acute radiation syndrome – almost exactly as would be described if someone performed a web search for “radiation sickness” rather than actually suffered from it.
Even so, radiation sickness cases are almost always tied to huge nuclear incidents, such as the atomic bombings in Japan or the Chernobyl disaster – with rare exceptions, such as the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The strain of the novel coronavirus, officially known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is believed to have emerged from a coronavirus in bats and crossed over to humans, potentially through an intermediate species, in late 2019.
Coronaviruses were named for the Latin word “corona”, the origin of the English word “crown” – this refers to the appearance of the infectious virus under an electron microscope, shows spike proteins emerging from the cell envelope and looks a bit like a crown.
These spike proteins are molecules on the outside of the virus which it uses to grab hold of and penetrate the outer walls of human cells. Scientists have described these proteins as strong evidence the virus evolved organically and was not created in a laboratory.
Two key features of the spike proteins have allowed the virus to be so deadly – and also explain why the virus, and not radiation sickness, is responsible for the harm it causes.
The first is what’s called the receptor-binding domain (RBD) which scientists describe as “a kind of grappling hook that grips on to host cells”, while the second is known as the cleavage site, “a molecular can opener that allows the virus to crack open and enter host cells”.
Once the virus is inside the host cell it can begin to replicate.
The viruses typically first enter the body through either the nose or throat – which is where symptoms such as a loss of smell and taste come from. If the immune system is unable to beat the virus back at this stage, it can then travel down the trachea and attack the lungs.
Because the lung’s alveoli are lined with receptors that these spike proteins are designed to latch on to, they are particularly susceptible to the virus.
But here the fight between the virus particles and the immune system becomes dangerous. White blood cells fight the infection by dumping molecules called chemokines, magnets for other immune system cells which kill anything infected by the virus.
So many dead cells are left behind that the alveoli quickly fill up with pus and fluid, causing pneumonia in patients.
X-ray images and CT scans of coronavirus patients reveal how their lungs are being ravaged by the virus and filled with this sticky mucus that prevents them from inhaling because there is no space for air.
This is how we know that the virus itself and not 5G radiation has led to 165,000 deaths worldwide.
Courtesy of Sky News
5G is safe, according to the international body in charge of setting limits on exposure to radiation, which has updated its advisory guidelines for the first time in more than 20 years.
The International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the Germany-based scientific body that assesses the health risks of radio broadcasts, called for new guidelines for millimetre-wave 5G, the most high-frequency version of the telecommunications standard.
But in practice, that form of 5G, which is in use in the US and will be coming to Europe, still has output levels significantly below the new maximum.
Dr Eric van Rongen, the ICNIRP chair, said: “We know parts of the community are concerned about the safety of 5G and we hope the updated guidelines will help put people at ease.
“The guidelines have been developed after a thorough review of all relevant scientific literature, scientific workshops and an extensive public consultation process. They provide protection against all scientifically substantiated adverse health effects due to [electromagnetic field] exposure in the 100 kHz to 300 GHz range.”
The radio frequencies 5G uses in the UK are similar to those that have been used for mobile telephones since 1998, when ICNIRP published its first set of guidelines for EMF exposure.
But millimetre-wave 5G, and other broadcast connections above the 6GHz band, “were not anticipated in 1998”, according to Dr Jack Rowley, the senior director for research and sustainability at GSMA, the industry body for mobile network operators.
Higher frequencies interact with organic tissue differently, dissipating more energy at the surface and penetrating less, which means the new standards take measurements across a smaller cross section, and specifically pay attention to the power absorbed by, rather than simply exposed to, a body.
“The most important thing is that the fundamental health risk assessment is unchanged,” Rowley said. “The limits that we had in 1998 are still protective now.”
In practice, both the old and new limits are unlikely to be breached in the conventional operation of a mobile phone network.
Exposures from base stations hit about 1% of the maximum, Rowley said, while the testing regime for mobile phone handsets ensured that, when running at the maximum possible power, they hit about 50% of the upper limit.
“In our day-to-day usage, however, it’s very similar to the base stations – about 1% of the maximum.”
Despite the overwhelming evidence that 5G, like earlier mobile standards, is safe for the public, a large community of sceptics fear it will cause – or already is causing – health problems, including, supposedly, coronavirus. There is no evidence to support a link between the two.
Courtesy of theguardian.com