Phone, Internet service restored in Silicon Valley

Fri, 04/10/2009 - 8:15am
The Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – Cell phone, Internet and landline service is back in Silicon Valley after one or more vandals apparently severed eight fiber-optic cables.

San Jose police said there was evidence that someone removed a manhole cover and cut four cables early Thursday. The incident wiped out phone and Internet service for thousands in Santa Clara County, including Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Martin, and parts of Santa Cruz County.

Hours later, authorities in San Carlos reported that four cables there had also been cut.

In addition to interruptions in phone and Internet, ATMs in Gilroy and Morgan Hill were not working Thursday, said Santa Clara County spokeswoman Joy Alexiou.

Police in both cities are investigating the incidents as vandalism. Police said four of the six lines belong to AT&T Inc. The company announced it is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Verizon Communications spokesman John Davies said about 52,000 of its landline and Internet customers were without service, mainly in the Morgan Hill and Gilroy areas. By 5 p.m. Thursday, Verizon customers' service had been restored in Santa Clara County.

Sprint also owned one of the severed cables, which cut service to thousands of its customers.

Santa Clara County declared a local state of emergency to allow officials to recoup some of the costs of maintaining public safety while the 911 system was down, Alexiou said.

Four of the severed cables were the width of a silver dollar and were covered in tough plastic.

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