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Criminals Could Target BT’s UK Superfast Fibre Optic Broadband Batteries

Wednesday, Mar 28th, 2012 (8:36 am) - Score 2,845

BT has denied that the backup batteries used by its new generation of fibre optic (FTTC, FTTP) connected superfast broadband street cabinets could soon become a target for thieves. The result could be a serious loss of connectivity, albeit only if the theft occurred during a power outage.

The claim was made by BT’s outspoken former Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Dr Peter Cochrane, as part of his submission to the Lords Select Committee Inquiry into the UK governments superfast broadband strategy (original news). “Once the local bandits have recognised that there is a car battery in the bottom, you can bet your bottom dollar that a crowbar will be out and the battery will keep disappearing,” said Cochrane.

BTs Spokesman countered (PC Pro):

Our fibre cabinets do contain a small 12-volt battery which is used to provide a back-up power supply in the event of a network power outage.

It is not a ‘car battery’ but is specifically designed to fit into our cabinets, and is not something that could be readily adapted to power anything else.

All of our cabinets are highly secure and fully alarmed so that if there were any attempted unauthorised entry – we would know immediately. If the battery pack were to be removed the power supply to the cabinet would not be affected.”

Existing copper line based broadband (e.g. ‘up to’ 20-24Mbps ADSL2+) and phone services do not require a battery backup because they independently draw power from the local telephone exchange. Copper is a good conductor of electricity, while fibre optic lines can only carry the optical transmission signal and thus rely upon an external backup.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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