More than 40,000 households in the southwest of the German capital lost internet and TV services after cable lines were damaged on Sunday. Police are investigating whether the outage is connected to a bank robbery attempt.
Early in the morning on Sunday, residents in the Berlin districts of Zehlendorf, Steglitz and Wilmersdorf found themselves without internet after a major cable was disconnected, according to multiple Berlin-based reports.
“In Wilmersdorf, a cable duct was opened and a fiber optic cable was intentionally severed,” a Vodafone spokesperson told the Berliner Morgenpost.
Reports state that the majority of the affected homes were Vodafone customers, though Telekom customers were affected too – meaning that they couldn’t watch TV, make phone calls on their landline or surf the internet if their telecommunications services were routed over the severed cable duct.
Much later in the day on Sunday – around 6:00 pm – internet services in the three affected Berlin districts had been restored by Vodafone.
A Telekom spokesperson said the company’s technicians were not able to fix the problem on Sunday, according to radio station RBB. “They are not something you can just patch up,” the spokesperson added. “You have to stitch them together from socket to socket.”
Berlin authorities are investigating whether the shutdown has anything to do with an attempted bank robbery in the area.
In a neighbourhood between the three Berlin districts, Schmargendorf, robbers possibly tried to immobilize the communications network in order to hinder an alarm system in an attempt to break into a nearby Sparkasse bank, reported Tagesspiegel.
The bank’s security system had gone off at about 3:00 in the morning, according to the police. By the time police arrived at the scene, they found visible signs of burglary and the perpetrators had fled.
The network failure occurred at about the same time.