For most places and times, this would be a quick blip in the daily paper or a side note on the local news site. But not in 21st century Silicon Valley. Out here, a loss of phone service is worse than a power outage. ATMs shut down, land lines are rendered inoperable and, worst of all, no text messaging!
Police were called, AT&T technicians went into emergency response mode to fix the cables, and a thorough search ensued. Now, it's getting really serious. AT&T has offered a $100,000 bounty on the head of whoever cut the cables. Seems like a high price to be paid for something that at first glance seems to be the work of bored teenagers, but several factors have investigators believing this was no mere prank.
First, there's the challenge of getting in. Though there's a sign warning of fibre-optic lines in the area, the facility is fairly well concealed. Second, the manhole covering the entrance to the facility is heavy and requires special tools and methods to open. Then, once you get in, the lines themselves are over an inch thick and covered with a thick plastic coating.
This has officials believing that this was an inside job, perhaps the work of a disgruntled employee or a message from the labor union currently engaged in heated talks with AT&T (note: the union has officially denied any knowledge or involvement in the incident by its members.)
Regardless of the motives or who perpetrated the crime, the incident showed just how dependant we have become on high-speed data and telephony systems.
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