Google Offline After Multiple Fibre Cables Cut At Same Time

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wire cutters cat 5 cable © Marty Haas - Fotolia.com

Simultaneous cutting of fibre optic cables disrupts Internet access across Eastern Europe, Iran and Turkey

Google admitted that it has suffered “multiple simultaneous fibre cuts” to its fibre optic cables that briefly disrupted its services in a number of countries.

The severed cables disrupted internet access in parts of eastern Europe, Iran and Turkey on Thursday for up to two hours, the BBC reported.

Damage to cables is always a risk, whether they are land-based cables being cut during building or civil engineering works, or undersea cables that are severed by things such as ship’s anchors.

fibre cable cutting worker infrastructure © thelefty Shutterstock

Cut cables

But sometimes cables can be cut maliciously.

In early 2013 for example, three scuba divers off the coast of Egypt were arrested, after they were caught cutting an undersea cable run by Telecom Egypt, that was used to connect citizens to the global Internet.

It is not clear at the time of writing whether Google’s outage was caused accidentally, or whether there was a more malicious element to the cables being severed at the same time.

What is reported is that multiple fibre cables were physically cut at the same time, which is highly unusual.

According to the BBC, Google said its services were among those unavailable in the affected countries for about 30 minutes. It told Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to connect to its other servers to “route around the problem”.

Multiple simultaneous fibre cuts

Google in a statement to the BBC said the problem was caused by “multiple simultaneous fibre cuts.”

BBC Monitoring confirmed that internet access in Bulgaria, Iran and Turkey had been disrupted for about two hours on Thursday morning.

The BBC quoted Sadjad Bonabi, a director at Iran’s Communications Infrastructure Company, as saying two cuts happened at once, one between Iran and Bucharest and the other on a line to Munich.

There is no explanation for the cut cables, but Google told the BBC it would publish a full incident report in the coming weeks.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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