London offline after cable theft (updated)
LONDON - this just in. I'll update as the story unfolds
BT's Mayfair exchange was robbed last night, leaving thousands of homes and businesses in central London without internet access this morning.
The raid cleaned out routers, networking cards and fibre at about 9.30pm on Wednesday. According to data at Samknows, the exchange serves about 3,000 residential premises and 4,200 non-residential premises.
A BT spokesman confirmed police are investigating "an incident" at its Mayfair site, which is in Farm Street, near Park Lane. He said BT was unable to estimate yet when customers will see service restored but that more information would be released later today.
Customers including ISPs who resell BT Wholesale broadband lines have been told that new hardware is being sourced by engineers.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan police said a public statement is being prepared.
Update 1200 - statement from BT:
We can confirm there was a break-in at our Mayfair Telephone Exchange last night (Wednesday), this is a now an ongoing police investigation and therefore we are unable to comment further.
BT apologises for any disruption caused to our customers. Our engineers are working around the clock to ensure that full service is up and running as soon as possible.
Update 1530 - the Daily Mail offers an interesting theory:
The burglars hit a telephone exchange building next door to Ritchie and wife Madonna's pub, The Punchbowl in Mayfair, central London.
As the director of gangster movies Snatch and RocknRolla celebrated with the singer, their children and a host of celebrity guests, the thieves escaped with computer components and telecoms equipment worth tens of thousands of pounds.
One theory is that the gang used the arrival of Ritchie, surrounded by photographers, as a distraction to complete the job. BT confirmed the theft took place between 8pm and 9pm - just as the party got under way.
The haul is believed to include computer router boards, hi-tech cables and telephone cards. The thieves also damaged the building considerably.
Meanwhile, in the pub next door, the celebrations were just starting up and despite the crowds outside, it is not thought anyone suspected a thing.
Scotland Yard said they currently are not able to give any details of the robbery.