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How a beaver knocked out the internet for a remote Canadian community

Pat Gaines/Creative Commons

A mischievous beaver took down the internet service for almost half of the 2,000 residents of a small community in the Canadian province of British Columbia at the weekend.

The furry animal chewed through an important fiber cable in several places, causing “extensive” damage that not only knocked out the internet for 900 residents of Tumbler Ridge, but also caused problems for 60 cable TV customers, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Sunday, April 25.

It’s not thought that the creature was making any kind of heartfelt protest against modern technology, nor is it thought to harbor any personal grudges against the community’s residents. Rather, it was using material from the cable to build its home.

Liz Sauvé of telecommunications provider Telus, which supplies the service to Tumbler Ridge, described the incident as a “very bizarre and uniquely Canadian turn of events.”

Sauvé added: “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.”

She said that a photo taken at the site where the animal had inadvertently carried out its act of vandalism appeared to show a number of beavers using Telus materials to construct their homes.

A team of Telus engineers worked over the weekend to repair the damage, restoring the affected services on Sunday afternoon, about 36 hours after the outage began. Tumbler Ridge residents will now be hoping that the bothersome beavers think twice about biting into the new cable and causing a repeat of the weekend’s inconvenient shutdown.

The story of the internet-destroying beaver is certainly bizarre, but it doesn’t quite beat the wacky tale out of the U.K. last year when electrical interference from an old television knocked out the broadband signal for an entire village for 18 months before engineers finally discovered the cause. When the owners of the aging TV learned that it was their contraption causing the village’s connectivity issues, they said they felt “mortified” and agreed to stop using it.

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