Verizon said that thousands of customers have lost service in the past "few days" as "criminals have damaged or destroyed critical network facilities."
The company did not point any fingers, but did point out that the damage coincided with a strike called last week by CWA-IBEW and involving East Coast wireline workers, though it did say the impact of the strike was minimal.
Verizon said there had been at least 24 incidents of sabotage over the past week in five states, including New Jersey, Massachusetts Pennsylvania, New York, all strike-affected states.
“We will find out who’s behind these highly dangerous criminal acts and we will pursue criminal charges,” said Michael Mason, Verizon’s chief security officer, in a statement. Verizon offered a $10,000 reward for arrest and prosecution of the saboteurs. “These perpetrators are putting lives at risk and these dangerous acts need to stop,” said Mason.
Among the damage, according to Verizon, was:
• "Sliced fiber optic cabling at a network facility box in New Jersey that cut services to customers and local emergency personnel, including police and fire departments.
• "Sabotage in Massachusetts in which phone services were cut off for customers for 16 hours.
•" Cut fiber optic and copper cables in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York that disabled voice communications and internet connectivity."
"That sounds very serious. I hope they catch these criminals soon," said a CWA spokesperson asked about Verizon's troubles.
The smarter way to stay on top of the multichannel video marketplace. Sign up below.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.