A city chief in Romania cut communication cables on Tuesday leaving schools to scramble for internet in the middle of a key exam.
Nicolae Robu, mayor of Timisoara, in the west of the country, took the action over a dispute with telecommunications providers.
He cut overhead cables in the city centre after operators allegedly ignored requests to move them underground.
“Local law compels internet, television and phone providers to bury their overhead cables,” Robu told Euronews. “The telecom operators, for the past several years, have ignored the town hall’s repeated requests to move the cables underground. I acted to protect the public domain, proving that nobody messes around with this city.”
Eight cable operators were impacted by the Robu’s intervention.
Soon after learning about the stunt workers from the telecoms companies arrived at the scene to attempts to take down the cable themselves and prevent further damage.
Internet providers complained in the past that the local administration has yet to provide the infrastructure to move their cables underground.
Contacted by Euronews via email and Facebook Messenger, local telecom operators did not respond to request for comment.
Several high schools and the Timiş County School Inspectorate were left stranded offline as they were taking part in the nationwide mock Baccalaureate exam and turned to mobile hotspots and other alternative measures to ensure communication with the Ministry of Education and get the exam subjects.
But educational facilities aren’t the only ones affected by the mayor’s scuffle with telecom providers. Residents from almost the entire central area of the city were left without internet and television services.
The rather eccentric mayor declared victory in a Facebook post and said that he won’t stop cutting cables any time soon.
He told local media that disgruntled customers should be directing their anger towards telecom operators and not the city hall.
Robu may be facing legal action from the local Consumer Protection Unit, which is investigating whether both the mayor and city hall were authorised to take the cables down.