By Robert McMillan
IDG News Service
August 23, 2007
Guns, saws, and some very dim-witted thieves were all apparently
involved in a network blackout that affected Internet users, primarily
in the Northeastern U.S., earlier this week.
Cogent Communications Inc. said Thursday that a cable cut that occurred
near Cleveland on Sunday night was caused by a saw, not by gunshot as
first thought, but technicians struggling to replace the cut cable used
a replacement cable that had been shot.
Cogent was one of several operators affected through Monday evening when
two-thirds of a mile [1.1 km] of cable was cut between Cleveland and the
tiny town of Montville, Ohio. With more than 32,500 miles of fiber,
Cogent is one of the largest network operators in the U.S.
Crews rushed in to fix the problem only to discover that their
replacement cable had been damaged by gunshots. "The original cable was
not shot, it was the replacement cable," Cogent said Thursday. "The
original cable was cut with a saw of some sort. Police are speculating
that the thieves thought the cable was made of copper."
Copper prices have spiked in recent years, spurred in part by increased
demand from China, and theft of all kinds of copper, including wires,
has become common. Unfortunately for the Cleveland thieves, fiber-optic
cable is made of glass fibers, not metal.
Cogent did not name the service provider whose lines had been cut, but a
source familiar with the situation said the lines are owned by Level 3
Communications Inc. Level 3 did not return calls seeking comment.
TeliaSonera AB lost the northern leg of its U.S. network to the cut, the
Grant Gross in Washington contributed to this story.
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