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Scottish rats scoff optic fibre, take down broadband

Two-day Virgin Media outage caused by rodents

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Strong-jawed rats brought down broadband services in the east of Scotland this week by chewing through fibre optic cables, Virgin Media told The Reg today in a statement.

Virgin Media phone, television and broadband customers in the Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and Leven areas suffered outages and intermitent coverage for a period of two days between Monday morning and Tuesday evening.

Fife Council was one of the customers affected, according to a tweet, with phone lines down for much of Monday.

Virgin Media engineers called out to fix the problem soon realised that small mammals were to blame.

“The loss of service was due to rodent damage to some underground cabling,” the Virgin Media spokesman explained. “On Monday morning our engineers were on site as soon as possible and worked at the highest priority to repair the damage, with service restored early evening on Monday.”

After the fix on Monday though, it seems that the rats, unable to resist the bundles of flexible glass fibres, went back for second helpings. Virgin Media reported:

Further damage was incurred on Tuesday afternoon and our engineers returned to repair the damage. We've now put additional measures in place to prevent further damage to our cables.

We hope the "additional measures" offer some more serious resistance to those rat incisors, capable, according to the Rat and Mouse Gazette, of bite loads of more than 10 pounds.

Virgin Media confirmed that all services have now resumed and apologised to customers for the inconvenience. ®

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