Among other lessons, the past year has shown the serious consequences of the decades-long inability to get modern broadband communications to rural or remote communities.
Too many parts of the country still don’t have access to broadband even as some cities rocket into the 5G age, but there’s no easy fix: installing towers, cables and other necessary infrastructure is expensive — particularly when they need to be routed over great distances without many paying customers waiting at the end.
And even if you get all that gear where it’s needed, there’s always the chance the locals won’t cooperate. By locals, of course, we mean wildlife.
Residents of Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, woke early Saturday to discover internet, cable TV and cell service outages in the tiny town in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies.
The culprit? Some nearby beavers apparently decided that fiber optic cable would be perfect for reinforcing their dam.
Canadian carrier Telus told CBS News that its technicians located a beaver dam and found that its inhabitants had dug three feet underground and breached a 4.5-inch thick conduit to chew through and rip out the company’s cables.
A company spokeswoman called the damage “extensive” and said crews worked “around the clock” to restore service by the following evening. The outage reportedly affected about 1,000 people — or half the population of Tumbler Ridge — and the company apologized for the “uniquely Canadian disruption."
Photos of the dam, meanwhile, showed cable caution tape and other materials included amongst the standard logs and branches; no word on whether their connection was any good.