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BT does Italian Job on London traffic lights

Boring contractors thrust 35,000 offline

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BT is still working to restore access to thousands of people and businesses in east London left offline when a tunnel borer cut through fibre cables and copper wire. The problem is also preventing Transport for London from managing its traffic lights.

Contractors working on the Olympic site in Stratford sent a large thrust borer through a deep level BT tunnel on Saturday afternoon. Some 70,000 customers were initially affected. A BT spokeswoman told us: "So far we've managed to restore services to 50,000 homes and business. Work is continuing around the clock to restore service to the remaining affected customers."

A statement from BT Wholesale said the tunnel was seriously damaged and would need supporting before BT engineers could get to work on fixing the cables and copper. In the meantime the telco is moving mobile STM-1 equipment in to provide access.

The tunnel is 32 metres below the surface and is currently completely blocked, so any repair will be difficult and could take some days.

The incident has hit internet access, phone lines, private circuits and mobile cell sites.

BT still does not have an estimated time for a complete fix. Some websites, including Jobserve, and some ISPs are still unavailable.

The outage has also created traffic problems in other parts of London because Transport for London cannot rephase its traffic lights.

The TfL website warns: "Various traffic signals sites across the London Area are not on computer control. As a result, delays may be experienced. Euston Road westbound is very slow moving from Marylebone flyover with tailbacks to Kings Cross."

A spokeswoman for TfL said: "We were unable to rephase traffic lights over the weekend in response to congestion. Lights are still on local control but traffic is not too bad at the moment. BT are onsite now but have not yet given us an ETA for a fix." ®

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