San Francisco

SF Internet Outage: Paper Money and Books the Orders of the Day

After construction crew severs AT&T line, businesses in SoMa have 20th century flashback

A construction crew severed a cable in San Francisco's South of Market on Monday, taking out internet service in parts of the neighborhood.

Being disconnected was inconvenient and costly for some. Bank of America customers weren't able to use the ATMs, and for restaurants in the area, it was cash only.

"Luckily, I scoured in my purse and found some cash," diner Michelle Le Biavant said.

Indeed, shopping and dining around Fourth and Townsend required paper money Monday night. Credit and debit cards couldn't be processed at places like The Creamery because internet service was out.

"When they come in, they have to decide to stay here, go somewhere else or go find cash," said Carl Morris, of The Creamery.

It was day three of the internet outage. The SFMTA says a central subway subcontractor severed an AT&T cable Saturday. The crew was excavating at Fourth and Brannan streets, exposing old pipes so the San Francisco Public Utilties Commission could cap them.

The extended outage left lots of empty seats at the Iron Cactus and The Creamery.

"Normally it's packed in here, and overflow goes next door," Morris said. "Not today."

Restaurants are losing money, as are other businesses in the SoMa. Fanta Deluxe Cleaners is waiting to collect as customers pick up their dry cleaning. But credit cards won't be charged until service is restored.

Back at The Creamery, the internet outage had Le Biavant entrenched in a book.

"I was gonna try to work for the hour I have to sit here waiting for my train," she said. "But I'm gonna read instead."

AT&T is telling customers the outage is expected to last until at least Wednesday.

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