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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 on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:24PM (#37050592)
    I thought it was going to be something about problems with All-Bran.
    Well slashdot has been around for a while now...
  • 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) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:29AM (#37057132)
      The variation I heard on that joke 25 years ago had cable tv coax.
    • by billstewart (78916) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @01:07PM (#37058836) Journal

      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 cable routes along the east coast, and there were often a couple of them that hadn't called in to check for fiber routes, gas lines, etc.

      One of the early competitive fiber providers was Wiltel, who were a gas pipeline company that had started running fiber along their pipelines since they already had right-of-way. They had a real advantage, because Bubba the Backhoe Driver might not worry about a sign saying "Wimpy Fiber that won't slow down your backhoe, please don't dig here", but a sign saying "Gas pipeline" means "don't dig here, it'll blow up and you'll die."

    • by billstewart (78916) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @06:57PM (#37063434) Journal

      Boing-Boing story [] 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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:49PM (#37050806)

        At least it was only yours, there's only on fiber line that connects Humboldt County to SF that has gone out a few times. Most recently a fire destroyed part of it. It's amazing how much it affects, you'd think just the internet, but, it kept the area from being able to use cell phones and credit cards. 911's phone number to address locator went down. Commercials were also interrupted, we got the actual shows, but some of the commercials came up as a blue service interrupted screen.

      • by jhoegl (638955) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:54PM (#37050862)
        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 Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @08:27PM (#37051178) Homepage Journal

        >> 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.

        • by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:20AM (#37055172)

          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 in my yard I could cut my own fiber, but unless I've got a backhoe I'm not likely to take out any of my neighbors.

        • by Amazing Proton Boy (2005) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @01:59PM (#37059618) Homepage

          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.

        • by DudeTheMath (522264) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:46PM (#37064320) Homepage

          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. :)

    • by ArchieBunker (132337) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:10PM (#37051808) Homepage

      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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 11, 2011 @06:16AM (#37053712)

      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 walking along marking it out I'll see a section where the soils eroded or a root has pushed it up exposing it to elements. (old copper lines.

      We work by putting a tone on metal lines and using a receiver to find that tone in the ground.

    • by SvnLyrBrto (62138) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:21AM (#37056990)

      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 impossible to tell which is at fault without more information.

  • 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) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:35AM (#37056284) Journal

      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.

    • by billstewart (78916) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @12:56PM (#37058654) Journal

      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 whatever.

  • 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.
  • 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) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @08:07PM (#37050988)
      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) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @08:40PM (#37051274) Homepage

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

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @08:44PM (#37051292) Homepage Journal

        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, guerrilla warfare and industrial sabotage may be the most appropriate and sensible approach.

        I don't think you can say that damaging the lines is always "terrible to both sides". It depends on how you get your connection. If you're getting it via copper, or satellite or wifi, damaging the lines may only be "terrible" to one side.

    • 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) (> 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 WorBlux (1751716) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @11:59PM (#37052322)

        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 state is not synonymous with society or cooperation.

        As for the U.S. as stolen property, it didn't necessarily need to happen that way. Colonial Pennsylvania require negotiations with the residence before taking occupancy above and beyond any royal land grant. Anyways people divide property in order to avoid conflict, acting upon divisions that are no longer of any consequence (as per both victims and perpetrators are long dead) will just stir up more conflict. In fact the natives you call the true owners probably stole it from a different tribe who stole it from yet a different tribe. At some point, time makes the illegitimate legitimate, or at least makes it so that restoring a lost title would cause more injustice then it would do as the new line of titleholders have long borne the liabilities of the land and did almost nothing to cause, encourage or abet the original loss, and the line of old-title holders have long been free of these liabilities, and have only a small probability that they personally would own the lands had they not been stolen century or more ago.

        In addition the State is just a group of people. (Unless you wan't to make the claim that all governments are instituted by God.) If no one may properly make a claim to property under an appeal to justice, a.ka. having a right, then how did these people calling themselves "The State" do it? Now you can say that they had their guns and just did it, but that would completely preclude the "under an appeal to justice" part, and would imply that the man in question has no actual duty not to sabotage the power lines, save for fear of being caught. No, your original statement is misleading. To be factually accurate you would have to state that enforcement of and dispute settlement for certain types of property has been monopolized by the State. Property itself is a natural and spontaneous process that occurs as people realize the benefit of dividing their labor and set to modify their own behavior to encourage cooperation.

        Yes property is a common good, and I use the term in it's Scholastic scense. The more common and widespread it's practice, the greater it's benefits for each individual that practices it. A modern usually uses the term public or common good to refer to a good or service that is merely divided among many people.It implies that might makes right, that a thing is okay just because a certain number of people want to share in the loot, or that it's okay to take some amount x so long as a greater amount y might be distributed widely as a result.

        And this idea of just compensation is a slap in the face. That they pay any amount at all is to recognize that the land is not rightfully theirs. As Frederick Douglas wrote about his wages in the shipyard "The thought itself vexed me, and the manner in which Master Hugh received my wages, vexed me more than the original wrong. Carefully counting the money and rolling it out, dollar by dollar, he would look me in the face, as if he would search my heart as well as my pocket, and reproachfully ask me, "Is that all?"—implying that I had, perhaps, kept back part of my wages; or, if not so, the demand was made, possibly, to make me feel, that, after all, I was an "unprofitable servant." Draining me of the last cent of my hard earnings, he would, however, occasionally—when I brought[252] home an extra large sum—dole out to me a sixpence or a shilling, with a view, perhaps, of kindling up my gratitude; but this practice had the opposite effect—it was an admissi

      • by rubycodez (864176) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:49AM (#37057496)
        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.
        • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <(tms) (at) (> on Friday August 12, 2011 @12:58AM (#37065426) Homepage

          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 interfere with my rights.

    • by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:15PM (#37051838)

      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.

    • by superdave80 (1226592) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @11:48PM (#37052272)

      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) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @01:15AM (#37052588)

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

      • by Martin Blank (154261) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @01:56PM (#37059568) Journal

        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 Florida law enforcement was present and thus authorized to take immediate action to protect the workers who were threatened.

    • by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:42AM (#37055434)
      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 renting them out.
  • 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.

    • by c0nner (123107) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:09AM (#37055896)

      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 ended up finding it right next to the shutoff for the next house over. That was 50 feet from where it was supposed to be and as a result the pipe run was no where close to where the map said it was.

      To make it worse the map was marked as being accurate as of just 5 years before. And there hadn't been any waterlines pulled up and replaced in that time so someone claimed they came out and traced the line as being where the map said but either never did or had no idea what they were doing.

      • by kermidge (2221646) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @02:12PM (#37059774) Journal

        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.
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @08:48PM (#37051328)
    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 on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @09:09PM (#37051466)

    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 Sunday) at 8AM to fix it.

    I loved my FiOS

  • by Aerynvala (1109505) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:14PM (#37051830) Homepage
    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.
  • by abednegoyulo (1797602) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:54PM (#37052036)

    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 stole. Our internet was down for one week. Nobody was a winner.


  • by bboyers (21742) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:58PM (#37052056)

    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 about a costly fence post error.

    • by billstewart (78916) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @12:49PM (#37058532) Journal

      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.

  • by utkonos (2104836) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @12:44AM (#37052482)
    Don't forget about the old woman in Georgia [] who took out most of the internet for Armenia when she was digging for scrap metal to sell.
  • by petman (619526) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @02:08AM (#37052796)
    Usually in a big bowl of Kellogg's Cornflakes.
  • by RivenAleem (1590553) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:46AM (#37055508)

    Why are these dangers to fibre any different to the dangers to copper? What is the point of this article?

  • by RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:15AM (#37056890)
    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.

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy