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Re: MCI WorldCom fiber cut - Syracuse, NY

  • From: Matthew D. Lammers
  • Date: Wed Oct 06 13:10:28 1999

Andrew, by far one of the best explanations I've read!  Excellent
illustrations.  You're suppositions are indeed correct.

In addition to which, fiber doesn't emit a nice electrical signature that
can be detected easily, making it hard to avoid.  Plastic, glass,
fiberglass, kevlar and the other elements of most fiber runs lay invisible
to many detection devices that rely upon metals content or electrical
impulse emission (crosstalk, noise, EMF...) for detection purposes.

Now, some have written that we should encase these things with various
high-strength metals.  I'm not willing, as an end consumer, to bear the
increased overall costs being passed to me, because $VBC laid 10,000 miles
(16 000 km) of protectively-encased fiber.  Costs would be staggering. In
addition, repairs and splices more difficult in those situations where a
backhoe manages to ding up one of these things and cause an actual cut.

In my part of Ohio, the engineering maps get updated way to infrequently
to suit my comfort level.  We have a 3 year old fiber run into our NOC
that is still not known to most of the high-cap techs that come out here.  
In fact, the local gas company was boring new pipe into the ground a few
months ago, and weren't even aware of the fiber laying 50 feet (17 m)  
away.  All other services we're clearly marked.  As already stated, since
fiber doesn't kill, people are complacent and wreckless around it.


Andrew Odlyzko wrote a while back:
< Could the explanation be simpler?  Effects of gas pipeline and
< water main breaks tend to be localized because they supply
< commodity goods, and there is local storage (and, especially in 
< case of water, local supplies) of those.  Hence such breaks
< affect fewer people.  The gas supply to my kitchen does not 
< depend on maintenance of uniform pressure in all the gas pipelines 
< from the well off the shore of Louisiana all the way to New Jersey; 
< my supplier has enough gas stored around here to keep pumping for
< quite a while even if a pipeline in Kentucky is cut.  On the other
< hand, when a fiber gets cut in Ohio, and I am trying to get some
< bits from California, it does not help me to know that somebody
< in Pennsylvania has terabits on her server that she is willing
< to ship to me.
< Andrew

  Matthew D. Lammers,
  Columbus, Ohio, US