Fiber-optic lines are often cut but a recent outage in Gorham, Maine happened after a fiber cable was hit by gunshots, causing $30,000 in damages.
Comcast Maine (NASDAQ: CMCSA) received complaints about service outages and was able to repair the damage after it was discovered by local police, who were unable to determine if the gunshot was accidental or intentional. Within the Gorham Industrial Park where the damage occurred, it is legal to shoot firearms as long as people have permission.
"Clearly, it's illegal to shoot someone else's property," Gorham Police Lt. Christopher Sanborn told the Portland Press Herald.
Around the same time, a cut to a CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) network fiber-optic line caused telecommunications disruptions in parts of South Dakota and Wyoming. The service outages affected South Dakota communities including Rapid City, Sturgis, Spearfish, Box Elder and Belle Fourche, according to the Rapid City Journal.
The fiber-optic damage also disrupted cellular service for AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) customers in the area.
The service outages caused by damages fiber are just the latest in what has become an ongoing problem, particularly in the San Francisco area where the FBI has been investigating a series of 12 fiber-optic cable cuts in one year. In addition to investing damage to AT&T's California networks, the FBI is also looking into attacks on Zayo's and Level 3's networks.
The FBI has been considering whether the string of attacks occurring around San Francisco were connected to Super Bowl 50, which was held in January at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
Last year, AT&T offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people that had damaged fiber networks in Ukiah, Calif. during an attempted copper theft.
Super Bowl, California fiber-optic network attacks could be linked: FBI
AT&T offers $10K reward for vandals that damaged Ukiah, Calif. fiber network
FBI: San Francisco has been hit with 12 fiber optic cable cuts in a year
AT&T Northern Calif. network damage comes under FBI investigation
Level 3, Zayo fiber cuts in Northern Calif. come under FBI investigation