On March 28th, a 75 year old woman who was trying to steal copper cable, cut into a fiber optic cable that provided internet access to most of Armenia and Georgia, leaving millions of people without internet access for a period of 12 hours.
Stealing copper cable, is common practice in Armenia, were many poor look for ways to make money. back 15-20 years ago, when Armenia had a major earthquake and went though a major recession, many trees were cut in the streets and used as fire wood in the winter, leaving almost non-existent trees in most Armenian cities.
Aishtan Shakarian, who lives in a small village near Georgian capital Tbilisi, was arrested by Georgian police. When she cut into the fiber optic lines and alarm went up, providing approximate location of the problem. When Georgian police arrived, the old lady was still digging for cable with a shovel.
Some Armenian internet companies switched to alternative internet lines from Iran, but others were down for the full 12 hours of the interruption.
The Georgia section of the international cable, which is called the country’s West-East fiber-optic backbone, is laid underground along railway tracks and operated by Georgia’s state railway company and its partners. The line comes to Georgia from Bulgaria, crossing the Black Sea to the Georgian port of Poti. It later forks into Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The woman admitted to cutting the lines and surrounded to police. The police think although the woman was arrested, she may not spent much time in jail due to her age and may be given a break.