Internet

France suffers internet blackouts after sabotage of fiber optic cables across the country

France suffers internet blackouts after sabotage of fiber optic cables across the country

  • Several internet cables were cut overnight in a seemingly coordinated attack
  • Users across France suffered from no or slow internet connection throughout the day
  • Investigators don’t know who sabotaged the network

France has suffered huge internet blackouts across the country after fiber optic cables were cut overnight in “multiple malicious acts” of sabotage.

The seemingly coordinated attacks saw several cables severed around 4 a.m., causing massive disruption to internet and phone services.

Free, the hardest-hit provider, said: “The attacks took place overnight at 4am. Our teams have been at work since this morning.

France has suffered huge internet blackouts across the country after fiber optic cables were cut overnight in ‘multiple malicious acts’ of sabotage

In a post on Twitter, the company referred to “multiple malicious acts” targeting its cables, resulting in outages and slow connections for many customers.

Competitor SFR said it suffered “several fiber cuts” in the Paris region and Lyon in southeastern France.

Other operators such as Bouygues Telecom and market leader Orange were not affected as they use different networks, but problems have been reported by users across the country, including in regional cities such as Strasbourg , Reims and Grenoble.

“Cable cuts have been confirmed in the Paris region affecting fixed and mobile services,” wrote the Minister of Digital, Cédric O, on Twitter.

The source of the problem is unknown at this stage, but experts pointed out that the seemingly coordinated attacks on fiber optic cables were unprecedented.

The seemingly coordinated attacks saw several cables severed around 4 a.m., causing massive disruption to internet and phone services.

The seemingly coordinated attacks saw several cables severed around 4 a.m., causing massive disruption to internet and phone services.

“This kind of incident on this scale never happens,” a security source told AFP on condition of anonymity. “It’s the first time and we don’t know who it is at the moment.”

Affected operators said their technicians worked overnight to restore services, with Free saying the issues were “contained”.

Other IT companies such as cloud computing groups were also affected by the outages, which forced Free and SFR to move their data to alternative routes.

“It’s a bit like the freeways being blocked and you have to redirect all traffic to other roads,” said Sami Slim of data center company Telehouse.

“It may cause small outages, but the internet works,” he said.

The cuts targeted so-called “backbone” cables that carry huge amounts of data between different regions and usually run along highways or train tracks.

The Paris-Lyon and Paris-Strasbourg links would have been targeted.

In March 2020, the fiber optic cables used for the Orange network were intentionally cut in the Paris region, depriving tens of thousands of users of internet connections.

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