Multiple internet outages affected several regions across France. Officials suspect a coordinated attack.
Following reports of coordinated vandalism, the Paris prosecutor’s office told Reuters that it has opened a probe into the causes of a major internet outage which affected France’s telecommunications network on Wednesday.
The French Telecoms Federation said vandalism had impacted telecoms networks in several regions, including the Ile-de-France region around Paris, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes and Bourgogne-France-Comte.
The investigation will be co-handled by France’s internal intelligence services and the national judicial police. The prosecutor’s office cited a potential threat to the fundamental interests of the nation.
Cedric O, the French Minister for Digital Affairs, reported on Twitter that internet cables had been cut in the Ile-de-France region, which was affecting the landline and mobile network. The ministry was said to be working with operators to restore service.
Attacks targeted long-distance fibre cables
A spokesperson for operator SFR said the group had been the target of acts of vandalism that affected the company’s broadband fibre optic network on Wednesday. Reportedly, the attacks concerned long-distance cables linking Paris with the cities of Strasbourg and Lyon.
These long-distance cables link large hubs to the broadband network and the internet, potentially affecting direct customers as well as operators that rent SFR’s network. Among the operators is Free, which also pointed to vandalism in a tweet.
SFR declined to provide further details on the location of the damaged underground cables. It also declined to say when full service would resume. Furthermore, the operator did not elaborate on the number of cities and customers potentially affected.
An industry source said a long-distance fibre network connection linking Paris to the city of Lille was damaged as well. French media reported major internet outages in big cities like Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Reims and Grenoble, quoting officials suspecting vandalism and sabotage.
Newspaper Le Parisien reported that underground cables had been damaged in France’s Seine-et-Marne and Essone departments, adding that these cables were linking the hubs of Paris and Lyon.