Internet outages in French cities caused by 'cable vandalism'

AFP - [email protected]
Internet outages in French cities caused by 'cable vandalism'
French telecoms group Free said its cables had been targeted for vandalism. Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

Internet services were down or running slowly in several French cities on Wednesday after suspected acts of vandalism targeting fibre optic cables, one operator and the economy ministry said.


Telecoms group Free announced "multiple malicious acts" targeting its cables overnight, while the economy ministry said it had been informed of "cut cables" as the source of the problems. 

French media reported that underground cables had been cut in Fresnes-en-Woëvre (Meuse), Meaux and Souppes-sur-Loing (Seine-et-Marne) and Le Coudray-Montceaux (Essonne). These networks supply the Paris-Lille, Paris-Strasbourg and Paris-Lyon long-distance internet connections.

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Free said it had been the victim of "multiple malicious acts" including in Reims and Graveline. It added that engineers had been working on the problem since 4am.


Rival operators Bouygues Telecom and Orange said they were not affected.

But competitor SFR said it had experienced "several fibre cuts" in the Paris region and in Lyon in southeast France.

Problems were reported by users around the country including in the cities of Strasbourg and Grenoble.

The source of the problem is unknown at this stage, but experts stressed that apparently coordinated cuts to fibre optic cables were unprecedented.

"This sort of incident at this scale never happens," one security source told AFP on condition of anonymity. "It's the first time and we don't know who it is for the moment."


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