Chewing through your broadband

Rats, my internet’s down.

That’s what 3500 West Coasters said after a major broadband outage was caused by hungry rodents chewing through fibre cables.

The internet went down on Sunday night for customers between Greymouth and Westport, just after cellphone alarms nationwide sounded for the annual Civil Defence emergency test.

The coincidence prompted many to wonder if the system was overloaded, whereas in fact the problem was traced to rats.

Chorus said its team found the fibre cables had been damaged by rodents.

The first outage occurred on Saturday night, and a temporary fix was applied.

However, because the rodents were still in the ducts, repeat outages occurred over the weekend.

"We have now re-routed all services into the alternative temporary cable, which sits outside of the affected duct," a spokeswoman said.

Service was restored progressively throughout the weekend, up until just after midnight on Sunday.

Chorus said it was working to put protections in place and prevent future incidents, with a new rodent-resistant duct for the fibre cables.

"We do try to minimise the impact of rodents by using rodent resistant ducting where possible and properly sealing duct lines, but unfortunately the critters do get through sometimes. This is particularly the case at this time of year as they're nesting."

The spokeswoman said the blackout was unrelated to the emergency cellphone test just after 6pm yesterday.

— Greymouth Star