AT&T's Internet, wireless service disrupted from fiber cut in Gilroy, Calif.

AT&T (NYSE: T) reported that vandals cut into a fiber cable in Gilroy, Calif., on Tuesday disrupting Internet, wireline phone and wireless service for local residents and businesses.According to Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, the fiber cables were cut near Monterey Highway at around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

After the incident left many subscribers without service for all of yesterday, AT&T said that it expects to fully restore service today. Due to the extent of the damage, AT&T had to install new cable to the affected area.

George Ross, a spokesman for AT&T, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that while he would not reveal how many customers were affected, "technicians are working to repair the damage as quickly as possible."

The telco is now offering a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for vandalizing its network in Gilroy.

This is not the only time that AT&T's fiber network in Santa Clara County has been compromised. In April 2009, vandals cut cables in south San Jose, which caused a major disruption to telecom services in southern Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

After the 2009 incident occurred, local competitive provider CruzioInternet decided to build its own fiber-based network to support its DSL and hybrid fiber/wireless-based services for residential and business customers. CruzioInternet's co-founder Chris Neklason said they were not affected by the latest fiber cut.  

AT&T wasn't the only local utility that was the victim of vandalism on Tuesday.

The damaged cables were reported not long after a Silicon Valley poser substation owned by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) located about a half-mile from AT&T's facilities were damaged by rifle shots fired at it yesterday morning. This incident prompted the energy provider to ask businesses and residents to conserve energy.

Kurtis Stenderup, a spokesman for the Santa Clara county sheriff's department said in a Reuters article that investigators believe that incidents that took place at AT&T and PG&E "are linked."

For more:
- Santa Cruz Sentinel has this article
- Reuters has this article

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