Residents and businesses in the Byfleet area (Surrey) may be suffering from telephone and broadband disruption due to a cable theft in the area which has left significant numbers of people offline and without a phone service. A chainsaw was used to cut through cable to take sections out, and has reportedly affected over 4000 lines. Copper cable theft is increasingly becoming a problem and causing many headaches for service providers like BT who operate networks. The work to install new cable and reconnect lines that have been affected is a painstaking job.
"The BT network in the Byfleet area was subjected to a significant attack by cable thieves in the early hours of Thursday morning. Significant numbers of customers may be experiencing a loss of telephone and broadband service at the present time. Our engineers are on-scene and will be working around the clock to restore service on affected lines, and we will issue further information as it becomes available. Anyone with information relating to this crime should contact the police or crimestoppers (0800 555 111) immediately."BT Statement
Local service provider and datacentre operator 4D Data Centres has come to the rescue of businesses on the adjacent Wintersells Business Park by providing free Wi-Fi Internet access connected to its own network which was not affected by the BT outage.
"We've got plenty of spare capacity on our 10Gbps fibre connectivity, so it's the least we could do for local firms who've had their businesses disrupted by the outage."David Barker, Technical Director, 4D Data Centres
Unfortunately every neighborhood suffering from cable theft doesn't have the benefit of a datacentre next to it and this most recent problem in Byfleet is just the latest of recent spate of issues. A village in north Lincolnshire has had cables stolen three times in the past two weeks causing a repeated problem for business and users in the area. Last year BT announced the use of SmartWater to tag cables so that when they are sold on, police can trace the cable. Users in Byfleet are likely to be without service until tomorrow evening at the earliest, with some people told not to expect service restored until Sunday.