Rats break the internet: Sky broadband goes down in London after rodents munch cables

Rats chewed through internet cables in South LondonChristian Hartmann/Reuters

Cable-chewing rodents are reportedly to blame for a series of broadband and phone line disruptions impacting homes across South London this week (10-11 August), leaving two major UK providers – TalkTalk and Sky – scrambling to soothe customer complaints.

The outages first hit at about 9pm on Thursday 10 August and, according to a slew of reports on social media, are still impacting numerous users in some areas. Both TalkTalk and Sky have been responding to the reports, blaming rats for munching on their connections.

"Engineers have been on site overnight and repair work continues this morning, on damaged fibre cables," Sky tweeted on the morning of 11 August. "Work continues on repairing broken fibre cables. We have identified the cause of the fault, to be the work of rodents."

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At just past 1am, the Sky support account on social media responded to one comment: "Unfortunately rodents have been destroying cables in your area so our engineers are out repairing these just now".

At approximately 10am (11 August), a Twitter update claimed that the issued had been resolved.

Not everyone agreed, with complaints on Twitter still pouring in. "Still no service in Blackheath," one individual wrote. Another claimed: "I have [had] no connection since 10pm last night, I'm in Clapham junction. Still no service after your resolution tweet".

Representatives from Sky said the impacted areas were Tulse Hill, Balham, Brixton, Nine Elms, Streatham, Dulwich, Vauxhall, South Clapham, Forest Hill and Battersea.

In a statement published to its website, TalkTalk echoed a similar line.

"We're aware some customers in South London may be experiencing loss of service," it noted. "We're really sorry. We'd like to assure you that we're working with local engineers to resort your service ASAP and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused."

The service page indicated that TalkTalk's broadband and phones lines were disrupted, with impacted areas including Balham, Battersea, Streatham, Tooting and Vauxhall.

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"Engineers have located the damaged part of the cabling causing this issue and are working to replace the damaged sections of the cable," it wrote on 11 August.

It advised customers to watch its website for real-time updates on the incident.

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