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Another London BT exchange hit by thieves

Nine 21CN network cards down East End broadband

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Thieves bagged new networking gear worth tens of thousands of pounds in the early hours of this morning in a raid on BT's Stepney Green exchange - just two weeks after its Mayfair facility was burgled.

BT told customers that nine 21CN network cards were lifted at about 3.45am took down three ISPs in the area and left customers without connectivity until 2pm today. Police investigators and BT engineers are at the site in Commercial Road in E1 now.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said officers were called to the exchange at about 5.20am. He said detectives from Tower Hamlets were working with BT to establish exactly what was taken. No arrests have been made.

It's unclear at this stage if this morning's break-in is related to the events of 11 September at BT's Mayfair exchange. The audacious West End thieves made off with £2m in equipment while celebrity photographers thronged a party at the pub next door thrown by Madonna and Guy Ritchie.

Asked if the two could be related, the Met said: "It is too soon to comment at this early stage of the investigation."

21CN is BT's ongoing network upgrade that will convert all its exchanges from circuit switched to packet switched infrastructure. Only a select few ISPs have so far been allowed to resell the ADSL2+ broadband that the new gear powers. ®

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