back to article Scottish rats scoff optic fibre, take down broadband

Strong-jawed rats brought down broadband services in the east of Scotland this week by chewing through fibre optic cables, Virgin Media told The Reg today in a statement. Virgin Media phone, television and broadband customers in the Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and Leven areas suffered outages and intermitent coverage for a period of …


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  1. Adrian Jones

    I'm torn

    Between "The cables cannae take it cap'n" and something about the perils of deep frying...

    1. Velv Silver badge

      Adds a new meaning to Trouble with Tribbles?

  2. Bonce

    Reg Units

    A bite strength of 10 pounds is hard for me to visualise. What's that in Mouse Button Clicks? I know how hard I need to push a button on a Microsoft Mouse.

  3. lansalot


    Seriously, rats?

    They should deploy CAT-5....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unsurprised the sweaties

    didn't consider the possibility of anything eating fibre and coming back for seconds.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just ...

    ... a light snack.


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh RATS....

    its VM doing a CUT' Price advertising camPAIN up north...

    with all you can eat for under 10 Pounds ;p

    sounds tasty...

  7. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

    The attraction of 'new'

    Rats love new cables. They probably only chewed the existing cables so they would get some new cables. It's probably that 'new' smell that new plastic gives off.

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Is the Haggis out of season then?

    Seriously, catch and breed these little buggers and then flog them to the MOD ... weaponized rattus rattus with an appetite for fibre could take out your adversaries communications capabilities before they even know they're under attack!

    OK, I'm stuffing one in me pocket and dashing off to file a patent!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      It's more likely

      rattus norvegicus (norway/sewer rat) as opposed to rattus rattus (ship rat/black rat) found mainly in docks.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge


        Now I gotta re-file the patent!

        Seriously - this is why I love this place!

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Simple solution

    Since these are presumably Scottish rats - the additional measures consist of a healthy fruit and vegetable coating.

  10. Ryan 7

    I didnae know you could deep-fry fibre!


  11. Heineken Please

    Deep Frying, got to be

    VM engineers now busy making up a new batch of batter with added <insert rat poison of choice>. All they now need to do is keep the locals away......

    1. Jason Togneri

      Disclaimer: I'm also Scottish but from a different part of the country

      "VM engineers now busy making up a new batch of batter with added <insert rat poison of choice>. All they now need to do is keep the locals away......"

      Keep the locals away? Surely it'd be better to let them eat it too :-)

  12. steeplejack

    There's not much that can stop them - rats have been known to gnaw their way up through three inch thick concrete. Many mouths make light work. Cables don't taste too bad - that's the problem - we need cables that taste awful. This icon means "they've shredded my coat".

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It was clearly a Siberian Hamster.

    1. Hud Dunlap

      It's Siberian filigree hamster.

      AKA a bleedin rat.

      Just bring in the Scottish terriers and be done with it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cabling chewed by rodents

    Use CAT 6. Cats One, Two, Three, Four and Five are already well fed and snoozing by the fireside.

  15. Armando 123

    Unfortunate title

    At first I thought Gordon Brown was involved.

  16. Pete the not so great

    Did they run out of Whisky?

    and started on the cables?

    1. proto-robbie

      Have you seen the size of the blending / bottling plant / bonded warehouse in Leven? Those would be very pissed rats. "That's grattychewed for ye", as we say in the Kingdom.

  17. DJV Silver badge

    Small mammals!

    Well, that makes a change from larger, human sized mammals mistaking fibre-optic for copper...

  18. JaitcH

    The Chinese have a rat poison that's so good ...

    it's banned as too dangerous in several countries.

    It's an innocuous looking white powder which easily satisfies a rats reluctance to eat new things without a day or two sampling period, then it zaps them but good!

    Available in many Chinatowns to discrete shoppers. You can also get white 'chalk' fatal for cockroaches.

    Just make sure you wash your hands afterwards, very, very carefully!

  19. Nights_are_Long

    Don't explain my my Cable has been down since 8am Friday morning a engineer not visiting and having to rebook one for tomorrow... and no I am not in Scotland I am in Liverpool.

  20. Jon Smit

    New breed of rodent

    Pikey Rattus ?

  21. Howard

    Rats? - You were lucky!

    In Australia telcos have to deal with wombats sampling their armoured comms cable. The bite of a wombat will almost certainly be many times more forceful that of a rat.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Local User

    This isn't a new problem for VM. It was already known about when they were still Telewest in the Fife area.

    This sort of incident has happened several times in the past. There are several issues involved and I can't pretend to know about all of them.

    1) The rodents appear to LOVE the insulating Gel used in Fibre Optic Cables.

    2) They (Telewest at the time) didn't use Sub Ducting to protect their network when it was built. It was deemed to be too expensive and therefore not necessary.

    3) VM appear to have stopped the Stop Gap solution Telewest used. Getting guys to go out and put Rat Poison in the access points. Low-tech but it did work to some extent.

    4) The latter is probably linked to the fact that part of the maintenance of the network was outsourced to contractors rather then being done "In House"

    I just hope that

    "Further damage was incurred on Tuesday afternoon and our engineers returned to repair the damage. We've now put additional measures in place to prevent further damage to our cables."

    Means that they might put in sensible long term solutions in place

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