back to article Dam it: Beaver ate our internet, says tiny Canadian town of Tumbler Ridge

The Canadian town of Tumbler Ridge – population 2,000 – had its internet-bearing cable chewed through in the early hours of Saturday. Beavers were the culprits in this crime against rural information distribution as they got their sizable incisors into the 4.5-inch conduit connecting the town on the edge of the Rocky Mountains …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "My cable encountered a frisky beaver and soon I experienced packet loss."

    ^ What the headline should've been.

    1. Chris G

      Re: "My cable encountered a frisky beaver and soon I experienced packet loss."

      Beavers and the internet seem to go hand in uh hand.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternate headline...

    "Beaver severs pipe, stops subscribers from admiring beavers"

  3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Only one feed into the town?

    If you only have one cable feeding the town then this is going to happen. It would be more reliable if they setup multiple feeds instead of just hoping that the one cable will never break or get eaten. On the other hand, they are out in the beautiful countryside, technology is fun but walking around and listening to the birds singing to each other in the countryside is much nicer than tweeting on the internet.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Only one feed into the town?

      There is probably only one road into this town. You could run multiple lines along the same roadside but they will all get taken out by a single landslide, river, flood, ice thaw-freeze

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Only one feed into the town?

        Some cities in the north have zero roads going to them, and are only accessible during winter when lakes freeze over and can be driven on.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Only one feed into the town?

      It's a town of 2000 people and 900 ISP account holders were affected according to the article. It's at a Y junction of two relatively main roads looking at Google Maps, but it's basically in the middle of nowhere. They may have more than one horse there but that might be open to opinion as to whether the other one is still alive. I doubt any of the utilities have more than one feed into town.

    3. kain preacher

      Re: Only one feed into the town?

      Between San Jose and Gilroy there is only one fiber ring. about 10 years ago that ring was cut. Land lines,cell phones, 911 and some ISP all went down

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Only one feed into the town?

        Kind of. There are actually three $TELCO routes from San Jose to San Martin/Gilroy, and have been for 80 years or more. One takes the obvious Highway 101 corridor. Another runs West of that, through the Almaden Valley and then past Chesbro Reservoir and into South San Martin/North Gilroy. These two mostly follow old rail rights of way.

        The third runs up Highway 17 to Redwood Estates, follows the backbone of the Santa Cruz mountains to Corralitos, and then Watsonville, and then 152 over to Gilroy. This right of way is a remnant of coastal defenses during WWII and later used through the Cold War.

        The fiber cuts of 10ish years ago caused the widespread outages in South Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties and North Monterey and San Benito Counties was because of a lack of properly configured redundant highspeed hardware, not lack of fiber.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only one feed into the town?

      The last part of this post is the most accurate. I lived in Tumbler Ridge for six years. The population peaked at 5 000 when the two major coal mines were operating. It's now fading away. There are three roads in (one was paved when I lived there -- I think two are now) and it's not at all surprising that there's only one fibre line. The surprising thing is that there are ANY fibre lines.

      It's an absolutely beautiful area. Some of my best memories are of four-wheel-driving, swimming in the rivers and Flatbed Creek, and carousing at the pubs (yes, there were two at one time).

      You don't need the internet there. Good beaver.

    5. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: Only one feed into the town?


    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only one feed into the town?

      Could I politely respect that rather than post something sensible and factual, we concentrate on wringing out as much from the "beaver" thing as possible?

      We don't often get the opportunity.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Only one feed into the town?

        "We don't often get the opportunity."

        If the hand-wringers and namby-pambys have their way, this might be the last time. If this is your kind of thing, enjoy it while you can.

        I'm 98.5% certain ElReg has had hate mail about this from humo(u)rless idiots. Sad.

  4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Naughty Beaver!

      I was wondering when Frank Drebin would put in an appearance...

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Naughty Beaver!

      Shirley one of the funniest 6 seconds ever filmed.

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Homework excuse

    Makes a change from the dog ate my homework one

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    rodents have a thing for gnawing on low voltage lines - my kids hamsters always dined on my speaker cable. And you try to keep the damned things from escaping.

    1. kain preacher

      That's why you can get cables that have peppermint and Capsaicin in them. They make them for fiber and high voltage lines

      1. PerlyKing

        Didn't BT used to use cable insulation impregnated with arsenic?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Too many people died from over-licking.

          [TODO: Check I'm on the right forum before posting...]

      2. TRT Silver badge

        This is Canadian cable - it tastes of maple. Everything in Canada is Maple Syrup flavoured. Even the beavers.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          > Everything in Canada is Maple Syrup flavoured. Even the beavers.

          Only in Quebec

          1. TRT Silver badge

            I never went to Quebec. I'm inferring from a sample.

            Did you know sample is an anagram of maples?

            1. jake Silver badge

              "I never went to Quebec."

              Think France that never grew up, and refuses to at the top of it's lungs. On the other hand, Montréal doesn't smell nearly as bad as Paris. But they are working on it. Give 'em a couple more centuries.

              Did you know that beavers is an anagram of Eve's bra?

              Not that that matters either, of course ...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Are our stereotypes about Canada actually about Quebec, similarly to our stereotypes about America actually being about Texas and our stereotypes about Germany actually being about Bavaria?

          2. John H Woods Silver badge

            Maple flavour

            Except the anal secretory glands: that's vanilla. "Natural Vanilla" that isn't plant based is the one to look out for - it's castoreum or, basically, the brown slime from beaver butt.

    2. entfe001

      Rodents chewing cables can be a really serious problem causing accidents that could potentially become fatal.

      On 2014, on a railway line on southern France, a train collided with the rear of another train after the second one had received a wrong green light. The end cause was that rodents chewed the signalling cables with so much misfortune that instead of cutting them (which would had caused the signal to fall back at danger) it put on contact two different wires that signalled the track circuit* as free of any trains while it was still occupied.

      Here's the original report of the french RAIB

      *Actually, there was no track circuit properly named but a system, called BAPR, where a train is detected between signals and the previous signal is cleared after the next one is passed by a train with the same number of axles.

      1. AdamT

        Hmm, this "counting axles" approach doesn't seem entirely reliable. I think the Swiss railways still have a restriction on the number of carriages that a train can have so that the total number of axles is not 256.

        (for the obvious reason which apparently wasn't obvious at the time).

  7. Johnny Canuck

    Its much more serious...

    Than missing an episode of Due South. Saturday night is Hockey Night in Canada night!

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Its much more serious...

      I've found that it's always Hockey Night in Canada.

      This is a GOOD thing!

  8. jake Silver badge

    "uniquely Canadian"? Hardly.

    Beaver at the confluence of James Creek and the North Fork of Big River (bottom of Seven Mile Hill on Hwy 20, between Fort Bragg and Willits in Mendocino County, CA) took out the telephone line[0] into Fort Bragg in the late '80s, effectively destroying all communications in or out for a week or so. The town now has functional redundant lines.

    [0] Three poles, actually. There is no word on the crittter's opinion of pressure treated lumber.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "uniquely Canadian"? Hardly.

      They may have been Canadian weaponised beavers, along with Canada geese taking out US airliners it's two parts of the Canadian invasion force

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: "uniquely Canadian"? Hardly.

        Canadian Geese are easily subverted. I have a couple nesting pairs living here year-round. All they need is fresh water, fresh lawn, safety from predators and they will happily renounce their Canadian citizenship. Or maybe it's the weather.

        Beavers don't care a lick about borders. Mercs, the lot of 'em.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: "uniquely Canadian"? Hardly.

          >and they will happily renounce their Canadian citizenship

          But have you tried taking their hockey sticks away?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: "uniquely Canadian"? Hardly.

            Why would I do that? We like hockey herein N. California. Go Sharks!

            Grew up a Wings fan, decided to support the locals when they got here. Who knew that one of 'em would eventually grow up to surpass Gordie Howe's "impossible to break" record?

  9. kain preacher

    I know this is Canada but are were sure it 's just not a crappy ISP ?

    1. ayay

      *Especially* because it's Canada, this is a valid question.

      But, in this case, beavers are a more likely explanation. The damn creatures are vicious. Adorable, but vicious!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't forget the smaller cousins....

    The only surprise is that the burrowing rodent is one people actually find "cute". As a refugee from 30+ years in the telecom/cable industry, I can tell you that gophers are the reigning champ of buried cable issues.

    First we buried insulated cable - they would chew right through it.

    Next we tried armored ('armoured' across 'the pond') cable, but they would chew to that and then short out the grounding of the cable.

    Last I saw was a double-armored cable - outer PVC, then flexible metal conduit that electrically 'floated' followed by more PVC-type stuff insulating yet another flexible metal shield, then the actual sheath of the cables (twisted pair, coax, fiber, et al)!

    The second most common cause of a cable break was an IWBH - Idiot With Backhoe...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Don't forget the smaller cousins....

      Here in Northern California, ground squirrels are the winner in that sweepstakes, followed by rabbits, and then the ubiquitous (and ravenous) Backhoe Beast.

      There are a few critters that are dangerous to Humans working on these things out in the field ... Here in N. Ca, Black Widow spiders, rattlesnakes and deer ticks top the list.

    2. Aus Tech

      Re: Don't forget the smaller cousins....

      "Idiot With Backhoe..."

      We've had that problem here in Australia with the NBN, several times. The last time that it happened - less than 6 months ago, we had intermittent problems and slow data transfer speeds for almost 4 weeks, as the technicians had to repair the Optical Fibre lines, one at a time, as well as use redundant links just to get the towns on the lines a basic connection. Currently it's working great, thankfully. I just hope that we don't have any problems for the next couple of years.

    3. John Sturdy

      Re: Don't forget the smaller cousins....

      I was told by a BT installer that part of the reason for using lead for the outer layer of the 2000-pair trunk cables was that it gradually poisoned the rats that gnawed it. Sounds a bit slow-acting to me, though.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget the smaller cousins....

        Lead sheathing is primarily used for water proofing and corrosion resistance. In other words, it helps protect the cables from rat piss.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't forget the smaller cousins....

      What about making double-armoured cable with the two layers of armour being at some considerable voltage difference, to shock the animal (or criminal) before it gets to the important bits inside?

  11. sanmigueelbeer

    We had a site go down because of rodent infestation in the room where the FOBOT is.

    Before leaving, we told the building manager to get an exterminator in ASAP because, judging from the size (and quantity) of the rat poo, it was not a "small thing". Did he listen? Heck, no, he did not.

    Guess what happened? The next day, the same link went down.

    He got the message (and the bill for BOTH repairs) and got an exterminator in BEFORE the repairs were completed.

  12. lglethal Silver badge

    Leave it to Beaver?

    See title

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