Vandal attack on CenturyLink cable in Arizona exposes lack of backup systems

Vandal attack on CenturyLink cable in Arizona exposes lack of backup systems

The last-month attack by vandals on CenturyLink's fiber-optic cable in the Arizona desert has exposed the evident lack of backup systems, which incidentally is a glaring vulnerability in the Internet infrastructure in the US.

As a result of the attack by vandals, broadband provider CenturyLink's fiber-optic cable in the northern Arizona was sliced last month. As a result of the attack, a massive Internet service outage - for up to 15 hours - was witnessed by tens of thousands of people.

Moreover, due to the cutting of the CenturyLink cable by vandals, ATMs in northern Arizona were shut down during the period of the service outage; and stores also had no mechanism to process credit cards. The Internet service outage even cut out the 911 emergency service in some areas.

The attack on the CenturyLink cable in Arizona desert has brought the spotlight on the fact that, since the government does not regulate the Internet service in the US, it is solely up to the Internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure the reliability of their network.

It has been seen that ISPs mostly build redundancies into their network only if it is financially gainful. Hence, though backup systems are generally put in place by ISPs in most of the major metropolitan areas in the US, approximately 50 percent of the rural areas - as per the Federal Communications Commission's figures - do not have backup systems.