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Is Someone Targeting Our Communications Networks?

The Rocky Ridge communications tower was toppled by vandals in 2013. PHOTO: Mark Harrigan

An unspecified act of vandalism on underground AT&T cables Wednesday appears to be the latest in a string of deliberate acts aimed at local communications systems.

Wednesday’s vandalism brought down wireless and landline service to customers in Walnut Creek for the second time in as many weeks. The outage, which was almost completely restored by 10:30 a.m., blacked out the City of Walnut Creek’s Internet systems as well as services for thousands of others but did not impact the area’s emergency communications networks.

Vandals cut the cables on a communications tower on Rocky Ridge. Photo: Mark Harrigan
Vandals cut the cables on a communications tower on Rocky Ridge. Photo: Mark Harrigan

The fragility of the area’s power and communications grids has been brought home in recent days after a foraging squirrel was blamed for a blackout that left 45,000 homes from Berkeley to Richmond without power Monday evening.

Wednesday’s sabotage follows other acts of vandalism apparently aimed at communications networks and troubling security experts puzzling to come up with ways to protect their networks.

AT&T officials said Wednesday they are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Wednesday’s vandalism. Anyone with information can leave an anonymous tip on AT&T’s Asset Protection line at 800.807.4205.


  1. Interesting question. My personal opinion is that this is probably the work of current or past employees who know how to access these sites and either disable them or steal the components that disable them. So I think it’s more of a homegrown issue than a more wide ranging conspiracy thing. The distressing thing is how easy it is to get to these places. That needs a little further study and hardening IMO>

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