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BlackBerry back up - sort of

13 October 2011, 15:45

Johannesburg - BlackBerry internet browsing was still down in Africa, but e-mail and messenger services were up again, operators Research In Motion said on Thursday.

"From 06:00 BST [British Summer Time] today [Thursday], all services across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as India, have been operating with significant improvement," the company said after global outages on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We continue to monitor the situation 24/7 to ensure ongoing stability. Thank you for your patience," the company said.

After being criticised for not communicating sufficiently during the crisis, Thursday's statement also contained an apology.

"I want to first apologise for the service interruptions and delays many of you have been experiencing this week," spokesperson Robin Bienfait wrote.

"You've depended on us for reliable, real-time communications, and right now we're letting you down.

"We are taking this very seriously and have people around the world working around the clock to address this situation."


The company believed it understood what had happened and was working to restore normal services as quickly as possible.

It said earlier that a "core switch failure" had left it with no back up, causing the outage.

The status by Thursday morning was: For Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA): e-mail operating, backlogged messages being cleared, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) traffic online and traffic passing successfully.

Support teams were working on browsing and assessing when this could safely be brought online.
They had added capacity to help with message delivery between regions and continents.

For Canada and Latin America: e-mail systems were operating, backlogged messages were being cleared, BBM and browsing services were online and traffic passing successfully, except for three carrier networks in Latin America serviced by the EMEIA infrastructure.

Browsing was temporarily unavailable for those three carrier networks.

Support teams were investigating reports of BBM delays for the United States.

The company would provide regular updates via BlackBerry.com, RIM.com and its social channels.


Meanwhile, South Africa's approximately two million BlackBerry users could seek recourse from the National Consumer Commission, according to Business Day.

Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala said people would find protection under sections 55, 56 and 61 of the Consumer Protection Act, which provided rights on the quality of goods, and liability for damage caused by goods.

Everyone who was involved in the value chain could be held liable in terms of section 61 of the Act.

Some commentators said this might be difficult because the system failure occurred outside South Africa.

BlackBerry traffic is routed through two main centres, in Waterloo for North America, and in Slough, southern England, for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Business Day reported.

Mohlala said consumers who had bought their BlackBerry handsets after April could return them and demand another brand with an equal value, or a refund because the service promised was not delivered.

The commission had received one complaint so far.



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