April 2009

Communications Failure – Sabotage or Warning?

Don’t know if you’ve heard about this or not yet but there were multiple fibre cuts in at least two disparate geographic locations which cut off communications to 3 or 4 communities (Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Martin and areas of South San Jose. The 2 sets of fibre cuts were, according to news reports, underground and at least 40 miles apart. Manhole covers were removed and the perpetrators went underground and precisely cut the proper cables to sever communications. Wireless, Internet and wireline phones were out of commission and so were police, fire, 911, hospitals, etc. Local ham radio operators are linking the communities and have been doing so since about 3AM (word is that the cuts occurred around 2AM this morning. Here are links to a couple of local news stations’ stories: CBS 5 and KTVU.

I ran Internet Operations for a few years back during the boom and this type of action requires some really specialized knowledge. And the surgical precision is downright amazing. I mean, it’s easy to knock down a pole or even go underground and wreak havoc but that’s not the impression I got from the news reports — the implication is they didn’t just go down and do tons of damage but they selected the locations, the cables and coordinated their activities to occur pretty much at the same time. To me this says it’s not just a prank. Maybe it was done to send a message?

Update, April 10: Some good links with more information on this:


There were 4 locations, 2 in San Carlos and 2 in San Jose. The two in San Jose (one at Monterey Highway between Blossom Hill and Chynoweth and the other near the old IBM (now Hitachi) plant on Cottle Road and Hayes) amounted to 4 cuts, 1 cable held 360 fibers and at each of the other 3 the cable held 48 fibers. In one report it said there were 14 cuts in one location but the SFGate piece says there were 4 cuts in each location.

Also, the two areas were hit about 2 hours apart, South San Jose first and San Carlos later.

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