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Copper thieves cut off Sky and BT broadband in west London

Almost 40,000 Sky broadband customers have been without broadband for days after copper thieves tried to snatch BT cables in west London.

As well as 37,000 Sky broadband and phone users, the attack in Brentford on Tuesday also affected unspecified numbers of BT and TalkTalk customers.

The price of copper his risen by 300 per cent in the past decade, fuelling a worldwide rash of copper thefts hitting the telecoms and power industries.

Copper thieves cut off Sky, BT and TalkTalk broadband in west London
Copper thieves struck in west London this week

Sky’s network status page this morning read: “The outage occurred after fibre cables were cut by thieves attempting to steal copper from a site in West London (Great West Road) on 10 December. 

“Openreach have estimated that the remaining work should be completed later today (13 December). Please note, your broadband speeds may be slower than usual in the recently restored areas while the network resumes full service.”

TalkTalk said a very small number of its customers were affected by phone problems, with no broadband issues.

BT Openreach, which provides customer connections on behalf of most ISPs, confirmed that around two-thirds of the affected customers have been reconnected.

The thieves were left empty handed, as they found nothing but fibre optic cable when they cut the cable, but set off alarms to Openreach and the police.

Openreach launched its RABIT anti-theft system in early 2012, which alerts BT and police to attacks on the network, as well as Smart Water dye, which invisibly marks thieves when cables are cut.

Communications cable thefts often fail because a lot of copper in the main BT Openreach network has been replaced by fibre optics.


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