Fiber optic cable vandalism in Norwalk causes massive Optimum outage

Friday on Broad Street, beneath the Route 7 Connector overpass. (Harold F. Cobin)

NORWALK, Conn. — One or more people cut 10 multi-conductor fiber optic cables on Broad Street on Friday morning, knocking out service for thousands of Optimum internet customers.

The company is calling the incident vandalism and may have been an attempt to steal copper wire.

According to Janet Meahan, Optimum’s senior vice president for communications, a total of 16,000 customers lost service.

“I’m happy to report that several thousand have come back online. Restoration efforts continue,” Meahan said Friday afternoon.

Approximately an 80-foot length of the cables was cut from below the Route 7 Connector overpass, with the outage detected at 3:30 a.m., according to supervisors at the scene.

Screenshot from the Optimum website.

Dozens of Optimum field technicians from Connecticut and New York were at the secluded location near the Norwalk River working on restoring service Friday morning.

(Harold F. Cobin)

The outage cut internet, telephone and TV service in parts of Norwalk, New Canaan, Westport, Weston, Wilton and Redding, according to Optimum’s outage map.

Optimum supervisors said some service would be restored by Friday evening, but full repairs could take up to three days.

They said it’s likely the perpetrators thought the cables contained copper wire. The cut lengths of cable were left abandoned on the ground.

The cables are strung on utility poles along the north side of Broad Street from Main Avenue to New Canaan Avenue. Where they reach the overpass, they are hung under the Route 7 roadway.

Asked how he thought the perpetrators reached the cables to cut them. Optimum outside technician Nelson Villifane said, “Had to use a cherry picker. To get that much leverage.”

Norwalk Police Public Information Officer Lt. Joseph Dinho said the incident is being investigated by the Detective Bureau.

At 8:18 p.m. Friday, Meahan said Optimum service had been restored to more than 99% of affected customers.



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Friday on Broad Street, beneath the Route 7 Connector overpass. (Harold F. Cobin)
The Optimum outage map at 1:15 p.m.
Friday on Broad Street, beneath the Route 7 Connector overpass. (Harold F. Cobin)
Friday on Broad Street, beneath the Route 7 Connector overpass. (Harold F. Cobin)
Friday on Broad Street, alongside the Route 7 Connector overpass. (Harold F. Cobin)
(Harold F. Cobin)


4 responses to “Fiber optic cable vandalism in Norwalk causes massive Optimum outage”

  1. Alan Kibbe

    This could have been attempted theft, vandalism, or a terrorist act or experiment. It’s time we start undergrounding or otherwise protecting our critical infrastructure. Businesses as well as residents transmit and receive data over these cables.

    This would be a great use for some of the infrastructure funds coming from the Federal Government.

  2. Ken Kinsley

    I’m so terribly self-misinformed about the (intellectual) technological knowledge of persons who are trained and permitted to operate cherry-picker buckets. I’d have thought that they would know the low hanging fruit is fiber optical cable.
    Taking it underground at this location would probably be cost prohibitive as it would have to go under the Norwalk River. Yes new construction makes sense and eliminates many utility poles.
    Hopefully this lawlessness will include FCC infractions.
    Seems like the only thing that they got right was the time of day, the sweet spot for criminal activities.
    I wonder what impact it had on Commerce
    Optimum had me back up at 4:30 PM

  3. Jo Bennett

    I meant to write Nancy this weekend because I thought it was odd that the weekend before this outage, I saw men on Silvermine Avenue at tables, every quarter or so mile apart from each other, splicing wires. I asked what they were doing or who they worked for, but got “no English” from the one person from whom I could get a response.
    It was just very strange timing,because I have never seen anything like this ANYWHERE, and then immediately after, internet was disabled.

  4. Johnny cardamone

    Seems to be a national trend these days attacks upon our infrastructure lawlessness in general, and no fear!

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