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BT has reconnected many of the Eastenders who lost their telecoms this weekend after a large thrust borer crashed through a deep tunnel, cutting fibre optic cable and copper line connections.

But other services in East London, including traffic lights, are still cut off from the outside world, the firm admitted late Tuesday.

A BT spokeswoman said: "Service has been restored to a significant number of customers, including emergency services, all 75,000 telephony lines impacted, as well as a number of business and other communications provider circuits using alternative methods of connection. Restoring some services is a complex engineering task, but BT engineering teams are working around the clock to restore service to all remaining customers without service as soon as possible.

"Given the complexity of the incident, it is not yet possible to accurately predict when all services will be restored.

"BT will issue further updates as the situation changes." Customers can get automatic updates on 0800 169 0199 - assuming their phone is working of course.

One of the services still not restored is Transport for London's traffic light management system. A spokeswoman confirmed that the lights were still under local control today, but traffic is running smoothly.

A TfL spokesperson said: "As a result of damage to BT cables over the weekend, communication between some traffic signals across London and the central computer system linking them was affected, meaning that signals were only able to operate under local control settings. All signals remained working on fall back timings, only they were unable to adapt to local traffic conditions.

"While some signals have been restored to full centralised control, a number remain on local control. Traffic conditions continue to be closely monitored at London’s Traffic Control Centre and we are in regular contact with BT to have this problem resolved as soon as possible."

Thames Water has confirmed that it was a machine working on their behalf which smashed into the tunnel.

A spokeswoman told The Reg: "While undertaking tunnelling works at a depth of 10 metres in the east London area, an uncharted obstruction was hit by our tunnelling machine. It was later discovered this was a BT asset and customers had been affected.

"We will continue to liaise with BT to ensure services are restored as quickly as possible."

The incident, near Ilford, happened early on Saturday afternoon.

There does seem to be some confusion as to the depth of the tunnel - BT Openreach said the tunnel was 32 metres below street level while Telstra International's statement said it was 34 feet from the surface. Thames Water reckons its tunnel digger was working at ten metres. 34 feet is 10.4 metres. We do hope no one has got their metric and Imperial measurements mixed up. ®

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