Cable Cut Cited in Silicon Valley Outage

Sabotage is suspected in a widespread telecom outage in Santa Clara, Calif., which is affecting land lines, cell phones, 911 services and some web sites.

Rich Miller

April 9, 2009

1 Min Read
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Vandals cut two sets of fiber optic cables in San Jose and San Carlos early this morning, crippling telecommunciations across much of Silicon Valley. The outage has disrupted 911 emergency service in Santa Clara County, as well as land lines, cell phones and some bank cash machines. The outage has also caused availability problems for some web sites (including ZDNet).  Santa Clara is one of the country's major data center hubs.  

AT&T spokesman John Britton told the San Jose Mercury News that it appears somebody opened a manhole in South San Jose, climbed down 8 to 10 feet and cut four or five fiber-optic cables. Britton said the four cables that were cut in San Jose were about the width of a silver dollar and were encased in tough plastic sheath. AT&T is now offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the incident.

Four AT&T cables in an underground vault were cut just before 1:30 a.m. along Monterey Highway north of Blossom Hill Road in south San Jose, local police said. Four more underground cables, at least two of which belong to AT&T, were cut about two hours later along Old County Road near Bing Street in San Carlos.

The fiber optic cable cuts are affecting both AT&T and Verizon service, and there are reports that some AboveNet connectivity is affected as well. There's a discussion of the impact of the outage on the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) mailing list.

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