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Kent fire results in 7,400 BT customer outages

Written by Fri 15 Apr 2022

A fire in Kent affected BT subsidiary Openreach, interrupting telephone and broadband service for thousands of customers in Kent, UK. The cause of the fire is unknown, although a statement from Openreach said that they had not ruled out arson.

 

Pete Stewart, UK Operations Director for Openreach, said in an initial statement: “There was a suspected arson attack on our network in Staplehurst late Tuesday evening, leaving around 7,400 people without phone and broadband services. Engineers are working hard to resolve the situation, but it is a complex fix and may take several days.”

While the cause of the fire is under investigation, the company remains deeply concerned that arson may have been a factor “especially considering that so many people rely on their broadband for work, study, to get medical support, and stay connected with loved ones.”

Mr. Stewart urged anyone affected by the outage to contact their service provider, noting, “Our security team is working with the relevant authorities to make sure this incident is fully investigated and those responsible are held to account.”

The incident has been largely resolved, however – with service restored for 90% of customers within 24 hours, and the remainder shortly after.

As political unrest continues to divide the global community, attacks on telecommunications infrastructure are becoming more prevalent. Last year, French anarchists claimed responsibility for an attack on a telecommunications vehicle. On Christmas Day in 2020, a suicide bomber in Nashville, TN detonated an RV full of explosives outside an AT&T facility, interrupting telecommunications services. And in the UK, 77 mobile towers were damaged in April 2020 as the result of a conspiracy theory blaming them for the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Written by Fri 15 Apr 2022

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