The Great Wifi Outage of 2023

Living Magazines Tring rodent cable damage

Tring and the surrounding villages hit the national headlines in the summer when nesting rodents chewed through Openreach cables and left thousands of homes without internet connection for more than three days.

The first residents started to complain about lack of internet on Saturday 29 July – and most were not back online until the early hours of Wednesday 2 August.

The outage hit businesses hard, with many shops unable to take card payments and cash machines in the town running out.

Culture Bakery ended up giving away its bread and pastries as customers had no means to pay. And dentists and doctors’ surgeries such as The Rothschild Group also had to cancel or rearrange appointments, and prescription requests were also delayed by the outage.

Openreach, which oversees broadband on behalf of BT, is regulated by Ofcom, which operates an automatic compensation policy, so it is worth checking if you are eligible – although the refund may be as little as £9.33 for each day affected.

The jury is still out on whether rats or Glis Glis were responsible for the chaos. Openreach told Living that because of this its engineers diverted the network to ensure that, if the culprits were Glis Glis – which can only be removed by specially licensed pest controllers – they would not be harmed. At the time, Openreach told us it was working with local organisations to ‘remove the nest sensitively’.