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Cut cable slows Internet traffic

A damaged cable in New York causes a backup of rerouted Net traffic, slowing Internet access across the United States.

Internet access slowed across the United States on Wednesday after a fiber-optic cable was severed at a New York construction site, executives said.

The damaged cable, cut Tuesday in Yonkers, N.Y., should be replaced by the end of Wednesday, said Dan Doherty, senior vice president of Metromedia Fiber Network, which operates the damaged fiber network.

Only a few of the 1,000 companies that Metromedia services have completely lost Internet access, Doherty said. But the ripple effect of rerouting the Internet traffic is causing a more general slowdown, he said.

"We are looking at having it all repaired and running very soon," he said.

Often, problems on one set of fiber-optic cables can disrupt Internet service elsewhere. But Keynote Systems, which monitors the health of the Internet's backbone, has not issued any alerts of problems.

In July, a train derailment brought segments of WorldCom's UUNet Internet network to a grinding halt.

But backhoes or train crashes aren't the only foe for the Internet's delicate backbone. Virginia Gov. James Gilmore is among those calling for better protection of the Internet's infrastructure from potential terrorist attack.