37,000 UK Customers Left without Broadband and Phone
Tens of thousands of households across London were left without phone and broadband services for 3 days. The suspected thieves looking for copper left people cut from the outside world by cutting crucial fibre-optic trunk cables.
This was one of the biggest outages in BT’s network ever, with the services going down since Tuesday to Friday last week. This left around 37,000 Sky customers without phone or broadband. TalkTalk was also affected, and some of its clients lost their phone connections, though many calls were rerouted.
BT blamed a malicious attack for the outage. It turned out that cables accessed via a manhole were sliced open by intruders at night who were thought to have been looking for copper wire. The latter has a high resale value on the black market. However, the thieves found only fiber-optic cables – those can carry huge amounts of data, but have no value on the black market. BT announced that several engineers were sent on site to work round the clock to reconnect people: according to media reports, a team of ten engineers from BT’s Openreach network division were working to splice the cables back together in a crucial part of the company’s core London network.
Although some areas were soon back online, the disruption has come during a peak period for online Christmas shopping, and people failed to make purchases in time to meet the postal delivery deadlines. The company officially apologized to all affected customers.