The northern portion of New Mexico experienced a 20-hour mobile phone and Internet outage last week and now officials know why. A team of contractors sent to investigate and repair the the problem discovered that wildlife had bitten through a fiber optic line.
A spokesman for the service provider CenturyLink, David Gonzales, stated that the wildlife involved appeared to be a beaver, going by the bite marks on the cable. The company owns the cable, which starts at Interstate 25 and runs to the city of Taos.
The outage was widespread and affected Internet service for around 1,800 customers. CenturyLink does not currently know how extensive the blackout was for mobile users.
The New Mexico outage was reminiscent of an incident in Mountain View, California in October 2012. At the end of the business day on October 9, the city’s email, website and broadcasting services suddenly went down.
After investigating and contacting the service provider, the cause was found to be a bird that had pecked through a fiber cable.
The cable was repaired and service was restored by start of business on October 10.
The affected CenturyLink customers are now back online. There have been no further outages.
Steve Petellis started working for Buffalo Morning Star in 2016. Steve grew up in a small town in northern Michigan. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife one month later. He has been a proud New Yorker for the past 5 years. Steve covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for the Washington City Paper, The Hill newspaper, Slate Magazine, and The Public.