Major internet outage once again caused by vandalism: RCMP

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Northwestel customers in Yellowknife and surrounding areas had a 'major' disruption in services on May 8. NNSL file photo
Northwestel customers in Yellowknife and surrounding areas had a ‘major’ disruption in services on August 12.
NNSL file photo

Vandalism is yet again being blamed for a major phone and internet disruption Monday — the second such incident since July 13 when internet service for much of the North Slave was knocked out for most of the day.

Cable, home-phone, internet and LTE services across Yellowknife and the NWT were severely disrupted Monday by an “act of vandalism” RCMP announced late in the afternoon.

The outages began at approximately 9 a.m.

Andrew Anderson, director of communications with Northwestel, warned customers to brace for “several hours” of disrupted service with limited backup.

With service restored at around 5 p.m., RCMP released a statement saying they are investigating the incident.

“NT RCMP Federal Investigations Unit (FIU) are investigating a second major disruptions to communications services in the Northwest Territories,” said Marie York-Condon, media relations adviser with the RCMP.

The service disruption came from a damaged fibre optics line between Behchoko and Yellowknife.

“The RCMP has opened an investigation in what seems to be a deliberate act of vandalism to the fibre optic cable,” said York-Condon.

RCMP is seeking information from anyone who may have been travelling on Highway 3 between Yellowknife and Behchoko around 9 a.m. this morning.

“If you noticed any suspicious activity or have any dash-cam footage, RCMP are requesting you call your local RCMP detachment.”

“We continue to take threats to our critical infrastructure very seriously,” said Staff Sgt. Dean Riou, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the NT RCMP Federal Investigations Unit.

“These senseless acts have impacted communities and affected the safety and comfort of the citizens of the NWT. Someone may have seen something or would know someone who would have access to the fibre optics cables. We implore you to bring forward information that would lead police to identify the person or persons responsible for today’s outage.”

The RCMP are saying the investigation is in its infancy and are unable to determine whether Monday’s incident is related to the last major internet outage on July 13.

“RCMP is investigating any potential links,” said York-Condon.

Anyone with information is advised to contact Yellowknife RCMP at 669-1111, contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 nwtnutips.com, (click on “submit a web tip”) or text: nwtnutips to 274637.

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