Arsonists attack Essex broadband cabinets

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Three broadband cabinets and a mobile phone mast in the Chelmsford area of Essex, UK have been attacked by arsonists.

The act of vandalism has left around 1,000 residents without telephone lines, and almost 3,000 without broadband.

A statement from Kevin Murphy, Openreach's managing director for fibre network delivery said: ‘Our network in Chelmsford was attacked by arsonists in the early hours of Sunday morning, leaving around 2,700 without phone and broadband services. Attacks on our equipment are deeply concerning, especially considering so many people are relying on their broadband during lockdown to work, home school and stay connected with loved ones. 

‘We know how frustrating this must be for those affected and we’ll be doing what we can to prioritise fixes for vulnerable customers and key local services. We’d ask that anyone experiencing any disruption to report it to their service provider who will then inform us. Our security team is working with the relevant authorities to make sure that this incident is fully investigated and those responsible are held to account.’

Little is currently known about the attacks, but they follow a number of similar incidents last year which were said to be driven by ‘concern about a connection between 5G and the Covid-19 outbreak.’

It is worth pointing out that whoever carried out the attacks would have, ironically, had to break lockdown rules to do so, putting themselves and their households, as well as firefighters and other key workers at risk. 

It is also worth reiterating that there has been a great deal of in-depth research undertaken on the subject from organisations such as NHS England; scientific researchers at a number of the top universities and fact checking charity Full Fact, amongst others. None of this research has so far found any link between 5G and Covid-19, or indeed any other illness. There was also no reported drop in infections following any of the attacks on telecommunications equipment.

An image from the 2019 FTTH Conference, which took place in Amsterdam

09 February 2022

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