Beaver leaves 15 Canadian cities without the Internet

On June 7, 15 cities in the Canadian province of British Columbia were left without internet. BC Hydro employees detected the person responsible for the event: a beaver felled a poplar tree and when it fell it cut a fiber optic cable from Internet provider Telus.

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This was reported by CTVNews. The province that was left without Internet service and others; it has a population of 5 million and the cities affected were: Burns Lake, Grand Isle, Haida Gwaii, the Hazeltons, Kitimat, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Terrace, Thornhill, Houston, Topley, Telkwa, Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof.

Beaver tooth marks were found at the base of the aspen and other clues led engineers to conclude that it was all due to the animal’s sharp teeth.

“It’s unusual, but it happens once in a while,” Gammer said. “So I wouldn’t be a rich man if I had a penny for every beaver breakdown, but it happens.”

Everything happened in a swampy and difficult to access area which delayed the restoration of service. There was also a fire brought under control by firefighters in Topley, the nearest town to where the tree fell.

Daily life has been affected by this unusual internet shutdown. Shops and other services could only accept cash“It was a real bummer. No one usually carries cash anymore,” said Brett Johnson, an automotive technician at the Petro-Canada gas station, located at the intersection of Highways 16 and 37 near Kitwanga.

“People turning north on Highway 37 normally fill up at this gas station because the next one is two hours away,” he said. During the outage, some were running out of money and just had to “try their luck”, Johnson added.

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Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain said cell service has been affected because some of the cell towers use fiber optic connections which allow for higher bandwidth. And he said communities in the Northwest are vulnerable because there is only one fiber optic cable between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

But that will change as CityWest installs a second fiber optic line; it’s on the coast to connect to Vancouver. “So if a tree falls again, we’ll all still have internet access through the line that comes from the ocean,” Brain said.

Alvin Nguyen

"Amateur introvert. Pop culture trailblazer. Incurable bacon aficionado."

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