More Internet Backbone Cables Cut in California

The latest in a string of attacks on fiber-optic cables in the San Francisco area caused some Internet service outages in the region on Tuesday. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has been working with local law enforcement officials to identify who might be behind the vandalism.

Since July 6, 2014, fiber-optic cables providing network connectivity have been intentionally severed in at least 11 different locations around the East Bay and South Bay areas. The most recent incident affected three cables in the same area, according to the FBI.

Similar vandalism in Arizona in February left a large number of people without Internet access. It also disrupted cellphone, 911, ATM and credit-card processing services in the areas around Phoenix, Flagstaff, Prescott and Sedona. In that case, investigators suspected perpetrators looking for copper wire to sell on the scrap metal market sliced through the cable using power tools.

Services Restored by the Next Day

Greg Wuthrich, a special agent with the San Francisco division of the FBI, told us the latest cable vandalism in the Bay Area appears related to past attacks in the region. He added that more details will be released later, as investigators are still working to determine which Internet service providers were among those affected.

The affected cables are owned by backbone providers Level 3 Communications and Zayo Group Holdings, which sell capacity to other cable and Internet providers.

A Level 3 spokesperson provided us with the following statement: "On June 30, 2015, the Level 3 network experienced a service disruption due to a fiber cut in the Northern California region. Our network technicians worked to resolve the issue, and all services were restored on July 1, 2015. Level 3 is working with law enforcement as they investigate the fiber cut."

Attacks Are 'Concerning'

Tuesday's vandalism appeared to involve the same...

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