Australian Broadband Has a Cockatoo Problem

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Photo: Dale Clark/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Australia’s got a problem when it comes to broadband, namely that internet connections across the country are significantly slower than they are in other developed nations. To fix this, the National Broadband Network is in the middle of a multiyear, multi-billion-dollar project to install more efficient infrastructure across Australia. The cost of which keeps going up as yellow-crested cockatoos have taken to gnawing through the cables with their beaks. So actually, Australia has two problems: slow internet and birds.

In a post on its website, the NBN notes that current damages ring in at $80,000. That number is likely to rise, given the birds are putting their beaks through spare cables “strung on the towers for future capacity needs.” Meaning a technician has to be on-site to test if the cables are ruined. So far, NBN technicians have found eight damaged towers and estimate that another 200 could also be compromised. Each tower costs $10,000 to repair. “They are constantly sharpening their beaks and as a result will attack and tear apart anything they come across … You wouldn’t think it was possible, but these birds are unstoppable when in a swarm,” Chedryian Bresland, an NBN project manager said. “I guess that’s Australia for you; if the spiders and snakes don’t get you, the cockies will.” Ah, nature.

Australian Broadband Has a Cockatoo Problem