Updates at the foot of this post (inlcuding an official response from Virgin Media).
When the House of Commons and the House of Lords voted to make the Digital Economy Bill part of UK law, nobody was sure just how it would affect both the legitimate and illegitimate users of file sharing websites.
Yesterday it appeared that Virgin Media, a UK based internet service provider, had taken matters into its own hands and blocked all access to file sharing portals Rapidshare and Megaupload, a move that many thought pre-empted action from the Government and assorted music industry companies.
Naturally, Virgin Media customers flocked to the companies forums to seek clarification on the matter. Most of the complaints were from premium users who used the file hosting sites to store important data for their businesses and were obviously now unable to grab any of their files.
According to Bitterwallet, Virgin’s technical support are telling customers that the blocked connections to the sharing sites was an error on its part (an official response can be found below), with a fix due later this morning. Also, they provided an easy way to circumvent the Rapidshare block, simply replace “http://” with “https://” in the site address.
As soon as access is restored, we will let you know.
Update – Virgin Media has officially responded to its customers on Twitter, letting them know that it was a mistake and that Virgin did not purposely block access to the Rapidshare and Megaupload. According to a commenter on Bitterwallet, the unintentional block was the result of the installation of monitoring software onto Virgin Media routers.
Access to the sites should gradually be returning to normal.
Update 2 – We reached out to Virgin Media and have received an official response, clearing up any speculation around the networking issues:
A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “We are aware of an issue whereby certain file upload sites were unavailable for Virgin Media customers from late evening Thursday 13th May. Virgin Media did not block these sites and we are investigating the root cause. In the meantime we have implemented a workaround, and customers should be able to now access these sites again. We apologise for any inconvenience.”
Issues may have been caused by an inter-network routing issue not from upgrades to its routers as previously speculated.
Now that a workaround has been implemented, Virgin Media customers should not experience any problems when accessing the above-mentioned sites.