Shovel-wielding granny cuts off Armenian net

Opinion

Shovel-wielding granny cuts off Armenian net

Every so often, we hear of internet outages in parts of the UK caused by thieves making off with BT's copper wiring. Usually they affect a few thousand households and are pretty easily fixed.

Spare a thought, then, for a 75-year old Georgian grandmother, who has gained international notoriety and faces a three-year jail term after accidentally cutting off the entire country of Armenia.

It appears that the unnamed senior citizen was scavenging for copper to sell - a popular and profitable occupation in poorer parts of the former USSR - near her home village of Ksani, when her spade hit the main fibre optic cable connecting neighbouring Armenia to the internet, knocking the country, as well as parts of Georgia and Azerbaijan, off the web.

Apparently, 90% of Armenia's internet capacity is supplied through its northern neighbour.

"She found the cable while collecting scrap metal and cut it to with a view to stealing it," Georgian interior ministry spokesman Zura Gvenetadze told Agence France Presse. "Taking into account her advancing years, she has been released pending the end of the investigation and subsequent trial."

The cable in question, owned by the Georgian Railway Telecom Company, is thought to have been left exposed near the surface by a combination of landslides and poor weather.

This was first published in April 2011

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