Google services knocked offline after fibre cables cut

Tech giant says it's 'very rare' for two cables to be cut simultaneously

Fibre optic cables in two separate areas were cut at the same time on Thursday morning, leaving parts of Eastern Europe, Iran and Turkey without internet access.

The severing of cables belonging to a third-party telecommunications provider resulted in a loss of connectivity for Google between Bulgaria and the rest of its production network. The issue lasted for two hours and took down Google's services in those regions.

Sadjad Bonabi, a director at Iran's Communications Infrastructure Company, told the BBC that two cuts happened at once: one between Iran and Bucharest and the other on a line to Munich.

Multiple cuts to fibre optic cables happening at the same time is a very rare occurrence, according to Google, which also said it has now launched an investigation into the incident.

"The issue with multiple simultaneous fibre cuts affecting traffic routed through Google's network in Bulgaria has been resolved for all affected users as of 2019-12-19 2:36 US/Pacific," Google Cloud's status dashboard said. "Google services were not reachable for users who were accessing these Google services primarily through our Bulgaria network point of presence."

"We have identified the root cause and routed affected traffic around the impacted parts of our network. We are conducting an internal investigation and will provide a detailed public incident summary at a later date."

The UK has also experienced a number of incidents involving cable theft or damage throughout 2019. In August and September, a spate of attacks on broadband cabling in Cambridgeshire left 4,000 homes and businesses without internet access, with 500 metres of copper wiring stolen as a result.

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