US hunters shoot down Google fibre

Repairers forced to ski in to Oregon back woods.

Google has revealed that aerial fibre links to its data centre in Oregon were “regularly” shot down by hunters, forcing the company to put its cables underground.

The search and advertising giant’s network engineering manager Vijay Gill told the AusNOG conference in Sydney last week that people were trying to hit insulators on electricity distribution poles.

The poles also hosted aerially-deployed fibre connected to Google’s $US600 million ($A635 million) data centre in the Dalles, a small city on the Columbia River in the US state of Oregon.

“What people do for sport or because they’re bored, they try to shoot at the insulators,” Gill said.

“I have yet to see them actually hit the insulator, but they regularly shoot down the fibre.

“Every November when hunting season starts invariably we know that the fibre will be shot down, so much so that we are now building an underground path [for it].”

Gill said that on one occasion, a snowstorm and avalanche prevented Google from transporting repairers and gear into the area of the cut.

It usually used a helicopter or a Caterpillar D9 tractor for transport. It improvised by sending three technicians on skis to “repair the fibre that got shot down”.

“These guys had to cross country ski for three days,” Gill said.

“[One guy] is carrying what is known as a fusion splicing kit on his backpack.”

He joked: “These guys had to go in and fix the fibre while facing gunshots

“So [the] internet… [it’s] more dangerous than you realise.”

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry’s first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

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