Birds vs NBN: A sulphur-crested cockatoo

Australia’s national broadband network (NBN) is being pecked apart by birds.

nbn™, the company building and operating the NBN, has revealed that “native parrots have recently been found feasting on spare power and fibre cables strung from NBN Co’s near 2,000 Fixed-Wireless towers”.

The company has used a picture of a sulphur-crested cockatoo to illustrate its announcement. The species is infamous for trashing anything it decides to have a go at. A flock can strip a tree in a couple of hours, either to find food or to hone their murderous beaks.

It’s therefore unsurprising that the birds have taken to cables.

Thankfully, nbn™ says they’ve so far destroyed only spare cables installed for future upgrades. Live cables are armoured against the known cockatoo threat: Australian telcos are alive to the avian threat.

nbn™’s oversight on its spare cables has so far seen eight damaged sites and a repair bill of AU$80,000. The company thinks another 200 sites may have been bitten which, given costs of the network have already blown out by AU$20bn over previous estimates, is an unwelcome extra expense.

The company is, therefore, installing plastic boxes to house the spare cables and repel the avian assault, at a cost of $14 apiece.

Sharwood, S. (2017, November 3). Birds are pecking apart Australia’s national broadband network.

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