Hand me the wirestrippers and electrical tape

— 11:37 AM on March 15, 2000

Here's a San Jose Mercury News article (spotted at Wired.com) about a truly ugly situation going on in north San Jose at the moment. It seems that phone service there is out, and will be until the end of the week.

Why, you ask? Well, an unnamed contractor (he's probably in the Witness Protection Program by now) damaged four cable bundles last Friday while digging with heavy equipment. Each bundle contains 3,600 copper pairs, for a grand total of 14,400 copper pairs that must be spliced back together by hand. Does that sound like fun or what?

But wait, it gets better. The wires in the bundles aren't color coded, so the procedure works like this; split the wires off into groups of 25, then run a locator tone through one of them. Splice a wire from a new cable run onto that one, then find the corresponding wire on the other end of the new cable, and splice it there as well. Repeat 28,799 times.

I'm fairly certain that Satan is taking notes on this situation for that new wing of Hell he's been working on. No word yet on who's paying for it, but considering that 60% of the disrupted lines went to businesses, the total dollar value could get way up there if you count lost revenue and other such goodies.

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