Openreach fibre goes down after attempted cable theft

BT Openreach engineers are still working to restore phone and broadband services to customers affected by a loss of services three days after an attempted cable theft.

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BT Openreach engineers are still working to restore phone and broadband services to customers affected by a loss of services three days after an attempted cable theft.

The lines went down at 11pm on Tuesday 10 December, causing an outage in west London. It is believed that thieves were looking for copper cables - which have a high resale value - but instead found and damaged fibre - which do not - when they cut through the cables.

“An attempted cable theft in the Brentford area is currently affecting broadband and phone services for some customers in parts of west London,” BT said in a statement.

“Openreach engineers are working to restore service to affected customers as quickly as possible. Around two-thirds of customers [of all ISPs using Openreach fibre in the area] have had their service restored already.”

ISP TalkTalk said that a “small number” of customers had been hit, but that the outage had only affected inbound, not outbound, phone calls. Its broadband services were not affected.

According to the Guardian, about 37,000 Sky phone and broadband customers have been left without services.

BT uses a range of security measures to catch cable thieves, such as SmartWater, the invisible paint that tags thieves and an alarm technology called RABIT (Rapid Assessment BT Incident Tracker) that alerts police within minutes of a cable being cut.

It also has a dedicated Metal Theft Task Force, which works to restore affected services as quickly as possible and to reduce the risk of further incidents.

Meanwhile, Openreach also has a partnership with Crimestoppers, which offers up to £1,000 reward for information leading to arrests and subsequent successful convictions of cable thieves.