On Sunday, August 13, 2023, many residents and businesses in Victor Valley, Apple Valley and Santa Clarita experienced disruptions in their internet and cellphone services due to vandalism and damage to fiber lines. The affected providers included Spectrum, Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T. Some customers reported losing access to Wi-Fi, data, credit card readers and other online services for several hours.
The cause of the vandalism was not revealed by the authorities or the service providers. However, some social media users speculated that it was done by a disgruntled employee of an internet service provider. The Daily Press could not confirm this claim.
How did the providers respond?
Spectrum, which serves customers in Victorville and Apple Valley, said that its lines were damaged as a result of vandalism in the Victorville area. The company said that its technicians responded right away and worked as quickly as possible to make the necessary repairs to the fiber cuts. Spectrum also suggested that its customers could stay connected with its TV app and Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide.
Verizon, which serves customers in Santa Clarita, Victorville and Apple Valley, said that its customers were impacted due to a third-party fiber cut earlier that day. The company did not provide any further details on the incident or the restoration process.
T-Mobile and AT&T also confirmed that their customers were affected by the outage in some of the same areas. T-Mobile closed all its stores in the High Desert except for one in Hesperia. AT&T did not comment on the status of its services or stores.
How did the outage affect the residents and businesses?
The outage caused inconvenience and frustration for many residents and businesses in the affected areas. Some people contacted Eyewitness News to report their problems with internet and cell service. Others took to social media to vent their anger and share their experiences.
Some businesses had to close or operate with cash only due to the lack of internet service. For example, Baker’s Drive-Thru on Seventh Street in Victorville was closed all day because of the outage. Some gas stations along Nisqualli Road in Victorville also only accepted cash as their card readers were down.
Some residents also expressed concern about their safety and emergency services. For instance, employees at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley told the Daily Press that the facility experienced some internet issues, but patient safety was never in question.
When was the service restored?
By 4 p.m., internet and phone services began slowly returning to some areas of the High Desert. However, it was not clear if all the customers had their services restored or if there were any ongoing issues. None of the providers gave an official statement on when the full restoration was expected or completed.
The vandalism incident is still under investigation by the authorities and the service providers. No suspects have been identified or arrested so far. Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact their local law enforcement agency or service provider.