Vandals sever cables, networks go down

FBI part of ongoing investigation
By: Eyragon Eidam of the Auburn Journal
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The severed fiber optic cables that disrupted Sacramento-area communications is just one in a series of 11 Bay Area incidents in the past year being investigated by the FBI.

Phone, television and Internet services were disrupted in Auburn and the surrounding areas following three severed cables in Alameda County Tuesday morning, according to the federal agency.

Since July 6, 2014, there have been 11 incidents of vandalism to fiber optic cable networks in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

FBI Special Agent Greg Wuthrich said at this point it is unclear why the cables are being damaged, but said state and federal law enforcement are coordinating on the investigation.

According to communications provider Wave Broadband, three major fiber optic cables were severed at around 4:20 a.m., causing service outages in Sacramento, Rocklin and Auburn areas.

Mark Peterson, spokesperson for Wave Broadband, said the apparently intentional incident disabled phone service and resulted in reduced television programming and Internet speeds.

While Wave was affected by the outages, Peterson said the Wave does not own the damaged cables.

The spokesperson said the “backbone” fiber optic lines belong to Level 3 Communications and Zayo Group, who provide service to Wave and other providers on a contract basis.

Peterson said Wave is working with its provider partners to expedite a resolution, but said he could not speculate when services would be fully restored.

According to Peterson, customers in the Sacramento-area experienced service disruptions, but Wave services between San Francisco Bay Area and the Canadian border were largely unaffected.

Level 3 Communications acknowledged the incident in a brief statement, but did not provide additional information as to the outage or a potential resolution.

“The Level 3 network is currently experiencing a service disruption due to a fiber cut in the northern California region. Ensuring the stability of our network and communications services is our primary concern, and we are dedicated to minimizing customer impact during an outage. Our technicians are actively evaluating the situation and working to restore services,” a spokesperson said in an email.

Zayo Group also confirmed the network disruption. Spokesperson Shannon Paulk said the FBI was investigating the incident and that the communications company would be working to restore service to its customers as quickly as possible.