Bulgarian cable thieves trigger Internet blackout

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Bulgarian cable thieves triggered a 10-hour data blackout between Germany and Asia after they accidentally cut into a fibre-optic cable, the interior ministry said on Monday.

Three men were arrested after they severed the cable used for international data transfer while digging near the southeastern town of Yambol for metal wire to sell for scrap, the ministry said in a statement.

As a result, the transfer of communications, Internet, banking and other data between Germany and Asia was interrupted for 10 hours from 2130 GMT on August 18.

The incident caused losses worth an estimated 900,000 euros (1.1 million dollars) in revenue for the service provider, it said.

The theft of metal cables from telecommunications, railways and electricity companies is not uncommon in Bulgaria, where thieves sell them for scrap.

The governemnt has attempted to clamp down on such theft by imposing stricter regulations on scrap collectors.

© 2010 AFP

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