fwd: "Service restored in Silicon Valley after fiber cut" [telecom]

C|NET April 10, 2009

Service restored in Silicon Valley after fiber cut

by Marguerite Reardon

The fiber cut that crippled phone and broadband service and knocked out 911 emergency services in Silicon Valley on Thursday has been fixed, according to a Twitter post from AT&T.

"CA Outage Update: Repairs to vandalized San Jose cables were completed overnight. Services are operating normally this morning. "

Sprint's public relations spokeswoman Crystal Davis "tweeted" at about

7 a.m. PDT that the "Fiber cut issue affecting Sprint's wireless service in San Jose/Santa Cruz has been completely resolved as of appx 2:40am EDT."

Service was slowly coming back online Thursday afternoon and into the evening for many wireless, phone and Internet customers. VerticalResponse, a San Francisco-based company that uses an ISP whose servers are collocated in Palo Alto, Calif., said its servers went back online around 12:30 p.m. PDT. And one CNET News reader living in San Martin, Calif. said he was able to make and receive landline and cell phone calls around 7:15 p.m. PDT on Thursday.

Thousands of wireless, Internet and landline phone customers were without service from about 1:30 a.m. PDT after vandals had cut four fiber-optic cables owned by AT&T. A cable in San Carlos, owned by Sprint Nextel, had also been severed about two later. But Sprint spokeswoman Crystal Davis said the company was able to reroute most of that traffic onto another fiber link and for the most part, service was not disrupted.

That was not the case with AT&T's fibers. Because AT&T is the local phone company in the area, nearly all wireless, landline telephone, and consumer broadband services travel over the company's regional network regardless of which company provides the service. For example, Verizon Wireless and Sprint use AT&T's regional network to connect their wireless cell phone towers to their respective national networks. As a result, wireless customers were without service in the region where the fibers had been cut.

Officials also said that residents in the San Jose/Santa Clara region were without emergency 911 service for much of the day.

Exactly how vandals gained access to the cables that had been severed is not yet fully known. Sprint's Davis said a manhole cover was opened and the cables simply cut. She explained that fiber cuts are common, but are usually accidental--done unintentionally by utility repairmen or landscapers.

AT&T said on its Twitter feed on Thursday that it is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who has information that could lead to an arrest or conviction of the vandals who cut the fibers. The company has also said it's working closely with law enforcement.


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