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News Now

CU System
Frisco area Internet cell outage closes FIs
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (4/13/09)--Silicon Valley took a hit Thursday when someone severed eight fiber-optic cables, knocking out cell phone, landline and Internet service in a number of areas around San Jose and San Carlos, Calif., and the South County region. The outage affected ATMs, card transactions, police and hospital databases and 911 lines, and brought credit unions and banks operations to a standstill. The outage, which occurred at about 1 a.m. Thursday, affected six AT&T cables, one Sprint Nextel Corp. cable, and Verizon Communications. It was a reminder of how dependent society is on telecommunications. The cables wiped out telecom service to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, hospitals and police stations. Bank and credit union officials said they had to shut down on the advice of police because of a potential difficulty of reaching law enforcement in the event of a robbery. Commonwealth Central CU, based in San Jose, said its Morgan Hill branch was closed. It posted a sign on the door directing members to other branches in San Jose, according to the San Francisco Chronicle (April 10). President/CEO Craig Weber told the newspaper that the credit union has procedures to be able to operate without communication with its host system. "Really, the situation was security for both employees and members," he said. Because of safety concerns, police doubled their number of officers patrolling the streets and set up mobile stations throughout the city of Gilroy and Morgan Hill. Officers personally went into every financial institution in Gilroy (Gilroy Dispatch April 9). South Valley National Bank on First Street had long as security concerns heightened. Because of security system glitches, an inability to call 911 in case of emergency, and inoperable ATMs, bank employees only let one or two people into the building at a time. The event also reduced retailers to cash only transactions, forced students to go without texting, and put the kibosh on online classes. AT&T posted a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest but upped the amount to $250,000 when the extent of the problem became evident.


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