Tens of thousands of people in the Santa Clara area lost connectivity today, with fiber cuts in two locations. Apparently, however, this was not the work of the usual wayward backhoe nor did any earthquake or other natural disaster strike. Vandals seem to have actually opened two manholes, gone in and cut multiple fiberoptic cables of AT&T (NYSE:T, news, filings). It's no laughing matter, as evidenced by the $100K reward being offered by AT&T to catch the perpetrators.
Now, the damage in this case was limited, but was this a dry run? So much of the country's fiber passes through known locations, whether it be longhaul or metro, competitive or incumbent, old or new. They're supposed to be loops - protected rings - and the internet is supposed to route around disruptions. However, in reality too many of those loops are only logical loops rather than physical ones. Was this incident a test of how easy it would be to take down a particular location's connectivity, and how long it would take to restore? Or was it just somebody's idea of a joke, a way to demonstrate the vulnerabilities in the system?
I certainly hope 'vandals' is all they are, and that they are caught swiftly lest anyone else else start to think crap like this would be a good idea. But unlike those datacenter break-ins last summer in the UK, there doesn't seem to be any financial motive here.
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