Dr Peter Cochrane, BT’s former Chief Technology Officer (CTO), last week claimed that the battery backup’s in the new BT fibre cabinets could be a target to for thieves “Once the local bandits have recognised that there is a car battery in the bottom, you can bet you’re your bottom dollar that a crowbar will be out and the battery will keep disappearing”.
The kind of public statement that you suspect can’t of pleased BT, yes there might not be too many local bandits tuning in to the Lords Select Committee Inquiry, but any that were might well be adding these cabinets to their list of criminal ventures for the week ahead. Perhaps more importantly though, it raised serious questions about the resiliency of the FTTC service BT provides.
Rest assured though, BT tells us that these cabinets are alarmed, and that if the power supply were removed, the cabinet wouldn’t be affected.
Fingers crossed that this is the case, as we have witnessed numerous instances of telecoms based theft over the past few years, theft which has left customers without critical services. Two years ago Fluidata experienced a high number of clients in Luton losing service on DSL based connections, when travellers stole copper out of the ground, while there has been similar incidents reported in Swansea, Kent and Lancashire over the last few months. Theft of DSLAM’s from exchanges has also compromised telecom services over the years, as has datacentre break-in’s – most recently in King Cross, where criminals poising as policeman were able to break in, tie up staff, and steal computer equipment.
Measures are always taken to mitigate against these instances, be it improved security or new improved burglar alarms, but it’s not always possible to protect against every act of criminality or sabotage.
So next time you experience loss of service, while you might assume it’s some kind of system glitch or cable cut it might just as easily be the actions of a petty bandit.