Due to the declining state of the economy, there has been a rise in copper scavenging. People dig up copper wire from the ground and sell it for scrap. At present, the use of copper has been abandoned in favor of fiber-optics, but it has been left in the ground since it doesn’t cause any harm and is expensive to dig it up. So, people go searching for it.
Similarly, an elderly woman, Aiyastan Shakaryan, 75 years of age, was scavenging for copper when she managed to damage a fiber-optic cable with a spade. In this case, this cable was not providing limited traffic: it was supplying 90% of internet bandwidth to the ENTIRE COUNTRY of ARMENIA!
The damage caused was so severe that all three of Armenia's wholesale internet providers - ArmenTel, FiberNet Communication and GNC-Alfa - were unable to restore services for nearly 12 hours while neighboring Georgia and some areas of Azerbaijan were also affected.
Shakarian pleaded her innocence in court, and said she's never even heard of the Internet. 'I did not cut this cable. Physically, I could not do it,' she told AFP.
Here is a video of the cute old granny:
Labeled the "spade-hacker" by the local media, the old woman was arrested just outside the Georgian capitol of Tbilisi where she was charged for damaging property. If found guilty she could face three years in prison. The officials could not understand how this old lady managed to find and damage the cable. But, taking into account her advancing years, she has been released pending the end of the investigation and subsequent trial.
In Armenia, a spokeswoman for the country's largest Internet service-provider Armentel, Anush Begloyan, said "the incident forces our company to think about diversifying our channels."
Meanwhile, they will be finding another place to hide the wires.