Joseph Hobbs, an information technology consultant and contractor in the Phoenix area explained why cell phone customers were experiencing problems.

The information from a cell phone call is collected by cell towers and concentrated from low speed to high speed fiberoptic carriers at various points between Phoenix and Flagstaff, he said. Using fiberoptic cable is the most efficient and cost effective way to route data and calls.

The fiberoptic lines from the many carriers and Internet service providers are bundled in a sheath of cables buried together in a conduit along rights-of-way along roads and railways, he said. Many of them share fibers so when one cable is cut a number of providers can lose service. The cables aren’t heavily protected.

“They’re just buried two to four feet underground,” he said. “You could show up with a pitchfork and a spade and with two or three of you, it wouldn’t take much to bust one them up.”

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