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Fibre Nibbling Rats Knock Out VFast Wireless Broadband in Canterbury UK

Monday, February 25th, 2013 (8:30 am) - Score 2,061

Kent-based fixed wireless ISP VFast has become the latest internet provider to be hit by rodents with a seemingly insatiable appetite for fibre optic cables. In fact for almost a month the pesky critters have been busily attempting to nibble their way through one of BT’s key fibre spine cables in Canterbury, which supplies VFast.

Thankfully the situation, which has dogged the provider for the past three weekends, initially hasn’t had a huge impact on VFast because they run multiple circuits via BT and Neos (SSE). But on Saturday VFast’s Darren Brown told ISPreview.co.uk that “every single circuit in and out of Canterbury went down” because all of their circuits ultimately run through the same spine cable in the same duct.

Previously BT would have just moved individual EAD or WES circuits over to any spare cores that were still working, although on this occasion the operator ended up having to replace the damaged fibre spine with a new section. Thankfully the work only took an hour or so and VFast’s customers were soon back online.

Normally the new cable(s) would be armoured to help protect them from rodents, although Mr Brown told ISPreview.co.uk that he was unsure whether or not BT had done this. In the meantime Mr Brown said that VFast is now “planning some licensed backhaul wireless links to run alongside the fibre backhaul“, which is a sensible precaution.

rats

VFast, which has recently expanded its superfast wireless service to cover Old Wives Lees, St Nicholas at Wade and Wickhambreaux near Wingham, is also aiming to expand into East Farleigh, West Farleigh, East Malling, Staplehurst, Marden and Wateringbury during Spring 2013.

It’s of course not the first time that we’ve heard about rats and mice eating their way through fibre optic cables, with both B4RN (here) and Virgin Media (here) having reported similar problems.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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