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Wikipedia goes dark after cables are cut

Warwick Ashford

Wikipedia was out of action again on Monday, but not intentionally, out of protest, as it has been in the past.

This time, the user-generated online encyclopaedia was knocked offline because two fibre cables connecting its datacentres

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in Florida were cut by accident, according to the BBC.

Wikipedia's main site and various associated services were inaccessible or extremely sluggish for over two hours on Monday afternoon, but its mobile site was unaffected.

The services were restored after the severed cables between Tampa and Virginia were repaired.

David Gerard, a UK spokesman for the charity that owns Wikipedia and other similar sites, the Wikimedia Foundation, said it was not yet clear how the cables had been cut.

The Wikimedia Foundation took the opportunity to appeal for funds by highlighting Wikipedia's limited financial resources and the foundation's reliance on donations to run services.

Despite limited funding, Wikipedia has achieved high levels of reliability. The only significant downtime was deliberate in protest against proposed anti-piracy bills in the US.

The Guardian said the outage is reminiscent of the Georgian woman who inadvertently sliced through an underground cable in March 2011, cutting off internet services to neighbouring Armenia.

The woman, 75, had been digging near capital Tbilisi when her spade damaged the fibre optic cable. Large parts of Georgia and some areas of Azerbaijan were also affected.