Google's Fiber Lines Under Fire, Literally

Ryan Whitwam

If you were to take a stroll along the Columbia river in Oregon. You might find the quaint city of Dalles. In Dalles, is a sizable Google data center. All that data needs some fat pipes to flow through, so The Big G installed dedicated fiber lines to the facility. The only problem is that the hanging fiber lines make tempting targets for bored hunters. For the last few years, Google has been plagued by outages caused by hunters opening fire at the lines each winter.

Whenever these lines are damaged, Google technicians have to make their way into the wilderness to repair them. Some of these locations can be remote, requiring a Caterpillar tractor, or even a helicopter to reach if the weather is poor. On one occasion, some lines were shot down during a snowstorm. The repair crew had to cross-country ski for three days to get to the damage and repair it.

After realizing this was a losing battle, Google recently decided to build an underground channel for the fiber lines. Presumably, the hunter will leave the lines alone if the tantalizing fiber is hidden from their immediate view.

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