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Level 3, Zayo Hit Hard by Fiber-Optic Line Vandals in California

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking to identify culprits who have been intentionally severing fiber-optic lines in California for the last year.

The latest attack occurred Tuesday in Alameda County, and impacted customers throughout the day from the San Francisco Bay Area to Sacramento, said Greg Wuthrich, a spokesman for the federal law-enforcement agency.

The FBI is referring to the cuts as acts of “vandalism” and urging the general public to contact the agency if they observed anything yesterday out of the ordinary or related to general telecom maintenance.

Wuthrich could not immediately specify the number of individuals affected by the incident.

“Pretty much everybody who has a large network in the Bay Area” was impacted by the fiber cut, Peter Kranz, CEO of Berkeley-based Internet provider Unwired Ltd, told The Los Angeles Times. “The fiber bundles carry traffic for lots and lots of companies. Hundreds, thousands of businesses will share.”

Colorado-based Level 3 Communications Inc. and Zayo Group Holdings Inc. are among the network operators whose lines were impacted, according to news reports. Ashley Pritchard, a Level 3 spokeswoman, confirmed that the network suffered a disruption to service Tuesday as a result of a fiber cut in Northern California. Zayo Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Ensuring the stability of our network and communications services is our primary concern, and we are dedicated to minimizing customer impact during an outage,” Pritchard said in an emailed statement. “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.”

The FBI said last month it was working with local law enforcement to identify the individuals who have been vandalizing fiber-optic cables in several California communities, including Alamo, Berkeley, Fremont, San Jose and Walnut Creek.

Cables were first severed on July 6, 2014, in Berkeley, and Tuesday’s incident marked the 11th act of vandalism over the last year.

The recent network disturbance didn’t impact all ISPs. For instance, Comcast’s customers in northern California were not affected, spokesman Bryan Byrd said.


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