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LOCATION: HOME > INDUSTRY > NEWS > Rat blamed for massive telecoms failure in New Zealand

   DATE: 22 June 2005   AUTHOR: EDITOR
     
 

A hungry rat is being partly blamed for a major communications crash which has caused chaos in New Zealand.

The rat is believed to have chewed on a fibre-optic cable, resulting in the collapse of the country's mobile phone and internet services.
Investigators say the system's crash was a one-in-a-million coincidence, involving a rat and a workman.

The rat is being blamed for apparently chewing through one of the North Island's main communications cables.
At the same time, a Telecom New Zealand workman accidentally damaged a second main cable in another part of the country.

That was bad timing - the result was chaos.
Telecom networks were paralysed for five hours, knocking out mobile and internet communications and causing major disruption for retailers, financial markets and banks.

Even the New Zealand stock exchange was forced to close for several hours.
Technology experts say the latest phone system collapse is an important wake-up call. They have warned that New Zealand's infrastructure systems may be too vulnerable to network failure.

But the government has downplayed the problem, saying the two accidents were a freak occurrence.

Still, this is not the first time New Zealand has been hit by embarrassing blackouts.
In 1998, Auckland city experienced repeated power disruptions when a poorly-maintained electricity cable triggered a series of failures on other supply lines.

 

   
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