If memory serves me right, sometime around 1998 somone in the Atlanta, Georgia was using a tractor with a post hole digger to put in a new fence. The post hole digger cut through a major fiber optic line that provided service to Atlanta, Georgia and several outlying areas.
Estimates at the time were that about 250,000 people did not have phone or internet for about half a day.
On April 8th or 9th, Vandals cut four fiber optic lines. Which caused a phone and internet outage for AT&T and Verizon users in the south Bay Area and Central Coast.
The infrastructure of the USA is about as fragile as it can get. When a couple of vandals can cut a fiber optic line, and shut down businesses across a whole state – something is wrong. This is a good example of how ill prepared this nation is for a real disaster.
On a side note, someone from youtube sent me this video with the following message – Government Test Run Folks!!! Meaning, that some people think that the government is doing stuff like this to see how people will respond to some kind of disaster. Or to see how people will respond to lack of communication with the outside world.
Not only has communications been shutdown, but ATM machines do not work, credit card machines do not work. Every day life has been disrupted with this one act.