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The Biggest Dangers to Your Fiber 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the cutting-the-cord dept.
ffejie writes "Fred Lawler, SVP of Global Field Services at Level 3 has an amusing look at some strange fiber cuts that he's seen in his days maintaining a large fiber network across the U.S. Whether it's squirrels, vandals, storms or truckers, it seems everyone has a new way to destroy the fiber that keeps the global communications infrastructure afloat."
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The Biggest Dangers to Your Fiber

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  • Oh.... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I thought it was going to be something about problems with All-Bran.
    Well slashdot has been around for a while now...
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      No shit, for some reason I was thinking that kind of fiber, too - all the way up until I read "fiber network", anyway. Glad to know I wasn't the only one.

      Come to think of it, "no shit" was probably the wrong phrase to use that context...

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:26PM (#37050610)
    Reminds me of the old joke:

    Whether you like to go on a cruise or hike across the backcountry, the experienced traveler always carries a length of fiber-optic cable. Whether you end up shipwrecked and stranded on a desert island, or lost in the wilderness, all you have to do is bury the cable in the sand, snow, or dirt.

    A few hours later, a guy driving a backhoe will be along to dig up the fiber. Hitch a ride with him back to civilization.

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      The variation I heard on that joke 25 years ago had cable tv coax.
    • I don't know if they're still doing this, but back in the early 90s when I was working on fiber restoration databases, AT&T used to fly small planes along the main cable routes to look for unregistered construction. If they saw any backhoes they weren't expecting, they'd drop them a package that had call-before-you-dig information, some chewing gum, playing cards, and some leather work gloves (which I gather were basically a bribe.) There were usually about 1000 backhoes within a quarter mile of our

    • Boing-Boing story [boingboing.net] on using a backhoe as a swimming pool toy, with short youtube video.

  • Learning to read? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by L1B3R4710N (2081304) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:34PM (#37050674)
    When they say "call before digging", I think they mean it...
    • Re:Learning to read? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DudeTheMath (522264) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:39PM (#37050720) Homepage

      Seriously, when they only bury it four inches deep, it doesn't matter. My fiber has been cut three times, twice by the neighbor just edging his lawn. Finally, Verizon sent out their own techs instead of a contractor, and buried it eighteen inches or so.

      • by jhoegl (638955)
        I agree, only the industry is to blame for their own stupidity.
        Bury it, bury it to a point that does not make it so easily destroyed. Be smart about your infrastructure. Hold people accountable for their inability to follow your simple rules.
        • by soundguy (415780)
          The average Case backhoe can dig down 15 feet. A long-reach excavator can dig 72 feet. You'd be hard pressed to bury fiber "deeper than stupid".
          • The average Case backhoe can dig down 15 feet. A long-reach excavator can dig 72 feet. You'd be hard pressed to bury fiber "deeper than stupid".

            Problem is that the planet is only 4,000 miles in radius.

      • >> sent out their own techs instead of a contractor, and buried it eighteen inches or so

        So, he fixed the cable?

      • Re:Learning to read? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dbc (135354) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @01:13AM (#37052584)

        4 inches???? Ummmm... sorry, that ain't code. At least not in California. I own some mountain (ranch land) property in the only county in California that does not have a single stop light :) Any time I've tried to dig a hole that had to be in a particular place, it usually requires blasting granite rock to get more than 12 inches deep. Still, the phone company puts things down 24 inches. Now, sometimes they build a "Woody wall" -- for a simple copper pair it sometimes isn't worth going down 24 inches, so they go down as far as they can and then pile rocks on top until they get 24 inches of cover. They don't have to walk very far to find enough rocks :) And the building inspector signs it off. (It's call a "Woody wall" because a Cat driver named Woody had the idea originally.)

        Anyway.... a couple of years ago the local phone company put 10,000 feet of fiber across my property. They did that right and proper. First, a D8 Cat comes along with a vibratory pre-ripper that can chew through most rock and that you can hear two miles away. Then a D6 pulling a ripper/plow lays down conduit. A third D6 covers. They blow fiber from pull boxes. They put down 10,000 feet without blasting, although they were a little choosy about the route. (BTW, a D8 is big enough that moving it around on a low boy is an oversize load and requires permits and such, so they don't use it unless they need it. You also might wonder why they have fiber in an area with more bear than people -- it feeds mountain top communication towers, mainly. But I could have a DS3 at my otherwise off-grid cabin if I wanted to pay the monthly :)

        Anyway.... 4 inches? That's bush league. I can't imagine how the building inspector signs that off.

        • Anyway.... 4 inches? That's bush league. I can't imagine how the building inspector signs that off.

          I expect there's a different standard for cable running through your property than there is a cable running from a junction box on that line to your house. I watched a guy bury some fiber in my yard when I was getting upgraded from coax. About 6 inches is right. However when they came through the neighborhood and ran the trunk through, that cable was burred deep with backhoes. I didn't measure exactly how deep but I'd have to guess well over 24 inches if memory serves..

          So if I don't call before I dig

        • 4I own some mountain (ranch land) property in the only county in California that does not have a single stop light :)

          What County would that be? I can't image that there isn't a traffic signal somewhere.

        • Inspector? You must be from a state that cares. Low-bid contractors for Verizon lay the line from the junction box to the home. Cut it enough times, and an actual Verizon crew will come out and bury it properly.

          What really sucks is I telecommute; when it gets cut, I get an unplanned "vacation" for the rest of the day and maybe some of the next.

    • Re:Learning to read? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by smpoole7 (1467717) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @08:56PM (#37051378) Homepage

      Even "call before dig" doesn't always work, though. When we were building our new studios, the plumbing contractor called a locator to make sure he missed the gas main. The locator was off by about 10 feet. My assistants and I were on the roof of the building, lining up the 2' dish for a microwave data link when we started smelling the gas. Needless to say, we cleared out.

      The telcos themselves don't always get it right. I can't tell you how many times ATT's *own*contractors* have cut the T1 line at one of our 100,000 watt FMs. We went for a couple of weeks with a temporary line literally thrown across the ground, about 1/4 mile up the dirt road to the tower site. They figured it wasn't worth repairing until the contractors were finally done. :)

    • A co-worker of mine used to operate a backhoe and told me the power company came out and spray painted the safe place to dig. Well they were wrong and the high tension line melted the bucket and blacked out the neighborhood. So call before digging is BS.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        If you don't call before you find the power line with the bucket, your insurance premiums go up. So it's not BS, it's good sense.

      • So to make sure I understand this...

        One single excavation means the other thousands of perfect stakeouts where he avoided any damages don't matter?

        Regardless, your story is bullshit right on it's face. Sorry Archie, but your co-worker lied to you. Flat out lied. Don't be mad at me for pointing it out, but his story has an irrefutable flaw. If he's digging where they painted?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And so what? They made a mistake. If information isn't handed in or given to them in a timely manner, how can you blame them? They simply keep records, and operate from those records. If there is no record a high tension line there, the information they gave you was still correct to their knowledge.

        At the end of the day, it does help stop people breaking lines and pipes. This "So 'call before digging' is BS" attitude is BS. Fact is you should always be careful when doing work in an unknown location, because

      • In my experience, they spray paint where *not* to dig. Maybe that was his problem.

        • by rubycodez (864176)
          not around here, all the natural gas, water, sewer, cable tv, power lines get their own prettily colored line in fluorescent. I really need to photograph the lawns and sidewalks in the neighborhood the next time there is construction.
          • by Coren22 (1625475)

            Do you realize you just agreed with him but prefaced the comment with "not around here"?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I Do dig safe work in the Mass area,2/3s of the time the main line fiber doesn't have any metal tracer wire with it. I have no method of finding a line of plastic and glass in the ground. For this we tell the contractor doing the digging " There is Fiber optic wire in the area, Try not to hit it. Have a good day"

      Its also 9999/10000 times there is no tracer wire on services, house to street, and yes here in mass its common for replacement lines to be inches below the surface, Comcast and verizon. Often

    • by SvnLyrBrto (62138)

      If there was an easement on the owner's property allowing a telco to run fiber under it, why wasn't it properly filed, documented, and mapped on the deed to the land?

      Looks like there are TWO possible culprits here. Either the easement was properly filed and mapped on the deed and the contractors didn't bother to check the map; in which case they, or possibly the landowner, are at fault. Or the telco never had an easement on the property and had no right to have their fiber there in the first place. It's

  • Crack heads? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fishead (658061) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:37PM (#37050706)

    A buddy of mine had to sit at the bottom of a muddy hole in the middle of a sunday night splicing fiber once. Somebody used a truck to yank a length out of the ground thinking it was copper they could recycle.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      Iirc, a similar event cut a eastern European nation off from the world because a old lady was digging up cables and selling them for scrap.

    • Many years ago, a customer of mine was in the forestry business, and had a railroad to haul trees from their forests to their mill, and they had a few copper T1 lines they ran along the railroad route. Mostly it was buried under the tracks, but where they had bridges it was hanging under the bridge. And every year around hunting season, a few bubbas would shoot out their wires, either because it takes a lot more skill than shotgunning a stop sign, or because there'd be birds sitting on the wire or whateve

  • by retroworks (652802) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:42PM (#37050744) Homepage Journal
    America, always fighting the last war against squirrels. We need to look forward, it is the flying squirrels who represent the risk tomorrow.
    • by gman003 (1693318) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:55PM (#37050874)

      Fact: The Predator drone was originally created to defend against the flying squirrel menace. However, due to normal government incompetence, it was instead used in the War on Terror.

      Soldiers at the front continued to be baffled by why the drone's decoy launcher is filled with acorns instead of flares, something they, too, attribute to typical government incompetence.

      • Fact: The Predator drone was originally created to defend against the flying squirrel menace. However, due to normal government incompetence, it was instead used in the War on Terror.

        You don't find the idea of a flying squirrel capable of cutting 4G wireless signals right out of the air terrifying?

    • If you have any new ideas on how we can combat these wayward rodents, I’d love to hear from you. We are always looking for ways to improve.

      I'm pretty sure this has already been solved. You coat them with a capsaicin powder. Higher on the scoville scale the better.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yes but then Mexicans tend to use it for dental floss.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        I'm pretty sure this has already been solved. You coat them with a capsaicin powder. Higher on the scoville scale the better.

        Given I tried it with my dog once so she won't chew on some things, it didn't work. We came back to find the item unchewed, yes, but the powder was cleanly licked off.

        The damn squirrels would realize it makes their nuts taste better and start attacking all the coated cables!

        • Yeah or they might even go directly to the source and attack the spice factory. Now that would make a nice beginning for the next Austin Powers movie.

          Imagine the Headlines, Squirrel goes nuts over spicy toppings. Disaster looms as massive army of rodents take over local pepper plant. News at 5.
      • by rubycodez (864176)
        Nope, not a total solution. I had a problem with them emptying bird feeders for their comrades down below. Put a load of capsaicin powder in the seed since birds don't mind it. Found out one in three loves hot pepper, actually would alternatively eat the seed and lick the yummy hot pepper off his little paws. Just like people, most find overspiced food not pleasant, but many do.
    • Just because the occasional flying squirrel ends up bad doesn't mean you should discriminate against all of them. A moose buddy of mine had a flying squirrel for his best friend. That squirrel was always saving my buddy's behind - ol' Bullwinkle was a great guy, but none too bright.

    • They'll even steal nuts from budgies! http://www.weebls-stuff.com/songs/Flying+Squirrels/ [weebls-stuff.com]

  • Eminent Domain (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dcollins (135727) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:53PM (#37050848) Homepage

    FTA -- "Well I’ve saved the best for last. There was a landowner whose property stretched across the border between Georgia and Florida. He was mad at Florida DOT because he didn’t get enough money when they purchased the right-of-way to widen the highway that cut through his property."

    Okay, super-raw nerve here... because this is happening to my father's farm even as we speak. (Power company taking a strip directly through the middle of the farm on a state border, used for 5 generations by my family, for an unnecessary power line to nowhere.) The guy is not mad "because he didn't get enough money". He's mad because you threatened him with eminent domain, that he had no capacity to refuse giving up the strip of land, and he's super-mad and frustrated to realize he doesn't actually control what he thought was his own property. And you ruined the use of that property by cutting it in two. And yes, the power company we're dealing with is spewing similar spin in the PR battle. But that doesn't make it so.

    He's mad and feeling powerless because you stole something under threat of state violence. Sorry, today I can't laugh at what you thought was your crazy-hilarious "best" punch-line.

    • by jdpars (1480913)
      Except the funny part has nothing to do with why he was mad. These things suck, yes, but getting a temper about it and damaging the lines is terrible to both sides. The joke is that he almost got away with it until he opened his mouth. I understand that you're bitter, but if you fight it civilly, then your situation is nothing like the man in #10.
      • by sjames (1099)

        Indeed, if you fight it civilly, they'll be back for more next year.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        These things suck, yes, but getting a temper about it and damaging the lines is terrible to both sides.

        Hold on a second. There is plenty of historical evidence that guerrilla warfare is effective against a foe that is much more powerful.

        It's called "asymmetrical warfare", I think. And at this point, given the historic levels of power in the hands of a few corporations and the growing disparity of influence between a powerful corporation and individual human beings, and their institutional advantage, guerr

    • Re:Eminent Domain (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kral_Blbec (1201285) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @08:16PM (#37051078)
      Reading Comprehension fail.
      There was already a highway running through the property. Eminent domain was used to purchase land to widen it. That's a big difference. He lost a few lanes worth of usable land from the border (and was paid for it), but that's hardly the same thing as punching a new hole down the center.

      He was mad at Florida DOT because he didn’t get enough money when they purchased the right-of-way to widen the highway that cut through his property.

    • Re:Eminent Domain (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr. Slippery (47854) <(tms) (at) (infamous.net)> on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @08:34PM (#37051222) Homepage

      He's mad and feeling powerless because you stole something under threat of state violence.

      "Stole something"? Who issued that land deed that turned a section of the planet's surface into "property"?

      Property is created by the state. No one in the U.S. has some natural right to land, it's all stolen property. (Except maybe some reservation territory, and much of that was stolen from one tribe by the feds and given to another tribe.) Your "right" to "own" some specific piece of land is dependent on the public good.

      Now, certainly eminent domain is sometimes used to fatten the pockets of the powerful rather than for the public good, and sometimes people are not justly compensated. Those are legitimate complaints. But complaining about the existence of eminent domain betrays an ignorance of the nature of property. It has always been the case that private property can be taken for public use, provided that appropriate compensation is made. It's in the Constitution, for cryin' out loud.

      • Re:Eminent Domain (Score:4, Insightful)

        by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @08:48PM (#37051326)

        Strange, I was under the impression that there was a constitutional right to prevent such things.. You know, the 5th amendment, which clearly says:

        No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

        The definition of "Just" in "Just compensation" is debatable, or course--- (In the case of it rendering a farm useless, what would be considered just compensation? Compensation for the loss of production, or just for the base-price of the property itself?) but your view on emminent domain is quite clearly not what was intended by the framers of the constitution.

        • by OzPeter (195038)

          Strange, I was under the impression that there was a constitutional right to prevent such things.. You know, the 5th amendment, which clearly says ...

          Yeah .. a pity about that. The Real Story of Eminent Domain in Virginia [virginiainstitute.org] (PDF)

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          So taking the land without compensation is illegal. But taking it and paying for it is not. The issue is the "just" compensation part.

          If he feels upset, just have him imagine how the people who were forced off of the land and into reservations felt about it.

      • by WorBlux (1751716)

        Not necessarily, there have been non-state land registration agencies that did a perfectly sufficient and satisfactory job in areas that the state had not "officially" opened. What is needed is a mutual pledge. "I pledge recognize the property of people in such in such and area, meeting such and such criteria, with such and such improvements, bounded by stakes in such and such a manner, and aid in it's defense if they have made they same pledge to me". Stakes in early mining camps worked the same way. The s

      • by rubycodez (864176)
        Your "right" to "own" some specific piece of land is dependent on the public good.

        No, that is only a viewpoint, and moreover oes not describe a "right" at all. If a majority can take something away, it is not a "right" in that place.
        • No, that is only a viewpoint

          Everything touching on politics or law is "only a viewpoint".

          and moreover oes not describe a "right" at all.

          Which is why I put "right" in scare quotes. Property is not a right, it is a means of ensuring and promoting rights. If you have no control at all over your environment via property or some similar mechanism, you cannot exercise your rights of privacy, self-determination, etc.; on the other hand, when abused property gives others the ability to control my environment and in

    • by timeOday (582209)

      you stole something under threat of state violence.

      Land ownership was never absolute nor should it be. He didn't create the land, he's not the first critter to squat there, and he won't be the last. If he thought he had legal entitlements he actually did not, that's his own fault. Especially when he tried to enforce it.

    • I'm a little confused by the outcome to this story:

      He refused to let anyone repair the fiber on threat of death! When law enforcement arrived, Mr. Landowner had moved back over to the Georgia side and claimed he had no idea how the damage had been done. He was out of their jurisdiction. There were no witnesses, and all the law enforcement could do was talk to him and try to get him to confess.

      First point: Aren't they guys that were threatened with the 12 gauge considered 'witnesses'?

      Second point: All you have to do to avoid arrest is go to the next state??? I'm pretty sure they just arrested a family of bank robbers in Colorado that shot at police in an entirely different state.

      • by aXis100 (690904)

        First point - it was their word against his. You'd need an independant observer as a witness.

        • But cases are made all the time where there is only the victim as the witness. Otherwise, I doubt you could ever bring a rape case to trial.
      • There were limits to what the police could do in the initial circumstances when all they had was two parties who accused each other of being in the wrong. However, once he said that he would threaten them again, he had both confessed and made a threat of physical violence in the presence of law enforcement officers. They had the ability at that point to cross the jurisdictional lines to make the arrest. He may have been turned over to authorities in Georgia as that's where the crime was committed, but Fl

    • So, they didn't have to buy the whole property? I've never been the victim of imminent domain, but I had assumed they couldn't just buy part of the property; since it would massively devalue what was left. That's a raw deal right there. The guy should construct some massive billboards with pictures of goatse or something on them (provided there's no local law against that). On the other hand, if the road gets a lot of traffic, he may be able to make a pretty penny by constructing billboards and rentin
      • by dcollins (135727)

        "I've never been the victim of imminent domain, but I had assumed they couldn't just buy part of the property; since it would massively devalue what was left."

        That is exactly what they can do, and that is exactly what happens.

  • by kermidge (2221646) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:58PM (#37050904) Journal

    In '67 whilst working for GenTel Wisconsin plowing feeders [average plow depth ~4'] and trenching drops we cut a main [around 120-pair] line from Milwaukee to Madison. No one was happy. Dug out the break, carved out a seat for the splicer, put up a sunshade. Not the most fun we had, but close. Not our fault, as it turned out: the charts were wrong, and the info on them was wrong as well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by c0nner (123107)

      Sadly a too large portion of utility maps are not accurate.

      I had a house where I had to do plumbing repairs and they were right at the first shutoff valve inside the house. I had turned it off but I needed to be able to turn off at the curb to replace that internal shut off. I called the water company and they came out to turn it off but they couldn't find the shutoff. They looked at their maps and dug many many holes trying to find it. Then after 2 days of looking they were going to give up but they en

      • by kermidge (2221646)

        Bummer, man.

        Mid-Seventies, some friends and I had a few companies for cleaning sewers and pumping septics, also did repairs and installs. Often enough had to use an "industry-grade" metal detector (about the size of a HAF 932 and weighing ~seventy pounds - sure glad it was the 'portable' model) to find water and gas pipes; for clay had to run our snakes into the line.... A fun time for all.

        Glad you got things straightened out.

  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @08:01PM (#37050928)
    The Big Yellow Cable Locator. Also know in the communications industry as Backhoe Fade.
  • My property borders a common area of our subdivision that was set aside as an access right of way for things like power and phone cables. But do you think the companies actually use it? Nope .. all the cables actually run on my property along the edge of the right-of-way and then take a sharp turn to cut off a corner. I'm used to having my backyard spray painted all the time with orange paint marking cables.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Verizon "buried" my fiber so that a loop was sticking about 3 inches out of the ground. I hit that one day with the mower. They were out the next morning and fixed it.

    A few months later we had some friends over for dinner and they brought their rottweiler to run around in our backyard. They left and I went to check my email before bed... no internet. The dog had dug down the 6 or 8 inches to the fiber and had pulled it up and chewed about 3 feet of it to pieces. Verizon was out the next morning (Easter

    • by ffejie (779512)
      And now we know why Internet connections are so expensive. The damage experienced on your land (through the dog, or installer stupidity) cost the telco easily over $2000. You'd have to have service trouble free for a long time (5 years?) for them to make that money back.
  • My apartment complex paid to have Verizon come in and lay fiber, which they did. My roommate even had tv service through them for awhile. But then my apartment complex decided to do some renovations. So they tore down the tubing that the fiber had been in, and hide those messy 'wires' behind their crappy new siding. I was going to switch to Verizon, away from Time Warner/ Road Runner, but I can't do that until the fiber is replaced. Very frustrating.
  • I thought selling stolen cables were only done in third world countries, such as the country where I live in. Here, they burn up the cables so that they could sell the copper to junk shops.

    Unfortunately, my previous company was a victim of such thing. There was a storm that knocked a post near our building. Looters, thinking the fattest cable has the most copper, stole approximately a hundred meters of fiber optic cable. Here there is no market value for such items. They did not get any money for what they

    • by aXis100 (690904)

      I have a mate who had all sort of problems with his fibre cables in Africa (Ghana) - the locals would dig down to the cable to steal it, chop into it only to find it was fibre and not copper, and then move on. The problem was they'd move on 10 metres and try again with the same cable. Idiots!

      I told him he should bury scrap section of fibre closer to the surface as a diversion.

    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      Well yes and no. Theft (and subsequent sale) of materials from phone/power/communications lines is rampant in most countries, including developed ones. But no so much cables that are actually installed and live (e.g. stealing off power poles) - that doesn't really happen much here. But stealing the cables ~before~ they are installed is another thing altogether.

      As you say though, they are after copper rather than fibre. Problem is you often can't tell whether what you're stealing has copper in it or not.

      I li

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Problem is you often can't tell whether what you're stealing has copper in it or not.

        Except, of course, with a $10 toy-grade metal detector.

        I go to yard sales and such often and there's a fair amount of cheap wire out there...

  • by bboyers (21742)

    When I was at Sprint I heard the story of a cut fiber line. They go to check out the location and the ground is disturbed where the cut is. The tech thought the culprits left before they got there. When they dig down they find a dead decaying horse. The farmer buried his horse on the edge of his property without knowing he cut the fiber.

    Another farmer put up a new fence and used the fresh laid fiber line as a guide. He proceeded to cut the fiber numerous times over a half mile with his fence posts. Talk ab

    • The AT&T version of the story was that the farmer was burying a dead cow. I heard it in the early 90s, when I was working on automatic restoration system databases, though by now I don't remember if that was the fiber cut in Georgia in ~1991 that took out an AT&T line just after we'd installed the FASTAR restoration network, or if that was just a boring backhoe cut and the dead cow had been earlier.

      (Not to beat a dead horse, of course.) The fence post story is good - hadn't heard that one.

  • by lucm (889690) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @11:16PM (#37052142)

    I have a friend working for Hydro-Quebec (the power company in Quebec) and he told me that some people throw chains in power lines to short them and create a outage, then they try to cut the wires - but once in a while the breakers comes back on at the power company before the wire is cut. Every year they find a body or two because of that.

  • Don't forget about the old woman in Georgia [guardian.co.uk] who took out most of the internet for Armenia when she was digging for scrap metal to sell.
  • Usually in a big bowl of Kellogg's Cornflakes.
  • Why are these dangers to fibre any different to the dangers to copper? What is the point of this article?

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      in the USA, most copper is above ground
    • Copper is only for local distribution these days. Sure, occasionally somebody will take out a bundle of 600 copper pairs and trash a neighborhood's phone lines, but typically it's not a big deal. And there's more fiber getting out into neighborhoods, so there are more fiber cuts that don't affect a lot of people.

      But backbone networks are always fiber, at least since the 80s. Bubba the Backhoe Driver may actually hit neighborhood copper a lot more often, but it's more fun when he takes out the backbone ro

  • During a construction project we had a backhoe hit a 2" underground conduit that tied in one building on the peripheral of the campus. The conduit broke open and the cable line was cut, but the fiber, telephone, and fire lines survived. We called the local cable company to splice the cable. The cable repairman arrived and the first thing he did was to whip out his trusty wire cutters and cut everything else in the conduit.

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