Internet Outage in Canada Blamed on Beavers Gnawing Through Fibre Cables

Internet Outage in Canada Blamed on Beavers Gnawing Through Fibre Cables
Photo: Pablo Cozzaglio, Getty Images

Rascally beavers took down internet service for about 900 customers in a remote Canadian community this weekend after gnawing through crucial fibre cables, the Candian Broadcasting Corporation reported Sunday. The outage, which has since been resolved, also affected 60 cable TV customers and disrupted local cell phone service, according to a statement from the area’s provider, Telus.

Tumbler Ridge, a tiny municipality in northeastern British Columbia with a population of about 2,000 people, lost service for roughly 36 hours in what Telus described as a “uniquely Canadian disruption!”

“Beavers have chewed through our fibre cable at multiple points, causing extensive damage,” said Telus spokesperson Liz Sauvé in an email to Gizmodo. “Our team located a nearby dam, and it appears the beavers dug underground alongside the creek to reach our cable, which is buried about three feet underground and protected by a 4.5-inch thick conduit. The beavers first chewed through the conduit before chewing through the cable in multiple locations.”

After going down early Saturday morning, service was restored just before 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sauvé confirmed. In its statement, the company said crews worked “around the clock” to address the issue and determine how far the damage continued up the cable line. Telus brought in additional equipment and technicians to tackle “challenging conditions” due to the fact that the ground above the cable is partially frozen this time of year.

The beavers seem to have been scouting for materials to build their home. A photo taken of the site shows that they used fibre marking tape, usually buried several feet underground, as part of their dam, CBC reports.

Telus said it was “very sorry for this interruption,” but also appeared to recognise the humour in such a bizarre situation. Speaking to the CBC, Sauvé called the fiasco “a very unusual and uniquely Canadian turn of events.”