This weekend, an entire town in northeastern British Columbia, Canada, lost its internet service due to a few mischievous beavers. According to a report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, beavers chewed through crucial fiber cables, leaving 900 internet subscribers and 60 cable TV subscribers without a connection. The issue has since been resolved.
The beaver-induced black-out affected a small town called Tumbler Ridge, which has a population of about 2,000 people. They were left without internet for about 36 hours, and when they found out why many had to laugh. The local internet service provider, Telus, called this a "uniquely Canadian disruption!" The company gave an update to reporters from Gizmodo in the aftermath of the outage.
"Beavers have chewed through our fibre cable at multiple points, causing extensive damage," explained Telus spokesperson Liz Sauvé. "Our team located a nearby dam, and it appears the beavers dug underground alongside the creek to reach our cable, which is buried about three feet underground and protected by a 4.5-inch thick conduit. The beavers first chewed through the conduit before chewing through the cable in multiple locations."
The outage began early on Saturday morning and stretched on until about 6:30 p.m. local time on Sunday. During that time, Telus said that its teams worked "around the clock" to restore service, in spite of "challenging conditions" including partially frozen ground. The company told customers it was "very sorry for this interruption," and hoped they would understand that it was "a very unusual and uniquely Canadian turn of events."
The outage captured the hearts and imaginations of many on social media — though the residents of Tumbler Ridge couldn't see it at the time. Comedian Justin McElroy tweeted: "hackers come in all shapes and sizes," and CBC host Tom Harrington tweeted: "Sorry for the good people of Tumbler Ridge but Canada is a magical place." Others cracked their own jokes in comments and posts everywhere, many praising the beavers for their efforts.
"They are just trying to get us outside and away from our screens," one person joked. "The Beaver - a majestic and noble creature, looking out for all Canadians, but most specifically the people in Tumbler Ridge." Another wrote: "Sick of hearing about robots when clearly our future overlords are beavers," while a third added: "This very ambitious beaver is even damming the data streams."