Fire sends West End broadband up in smoke

BT is battling to restore services to ten of thousands of homes and businesses in London after a flood prompted a fire in a busy West End exchange.

The fire and subsequent broadband outage could not have come at a worse time as shops in the West End were struggling to operate effectively on one of the busiest days in the run-up to Christmas.

A spokesperson for BT told PC Pro that power has since been restored to the exchange in Gerrard Street in Soho and that engineers were working towards restoring all services by the end of today.

“BT can confirm that water damage from a mains drain has disrupted power supplies to an exchange in the West End of London,” the company said in a statement. “A number of customers in Central London have been experiencing a loss of service.”

The flood and subsequent fire caused significant damage to its equipment in the exchange and pictures taken by BT engineers at the scene show blackened and melted equipment at the scene.

The problem left countless companies struggling to do business and they were quick to vent their anger over the outage on the BTCare Twitter feed.

“The whole of the West End without phones or internet, four days before Christmas. Well done @BTcare,” tweeted services supply company Service Team. “How is this company still running?”

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