As quickly as Kentucky is working to establish a broadband network, the state’s squirrels are busily chewing it apart, reports Vice.com. Project COO Mike Hayden, recently said, “It seems Kentucky has an abundance of squirrels that like to chew through fiber.” Experts have been unable to determine if the squirrels enjoy the taste of the casing, or if the material simply provides a good chew for rodent teeth.
Squirrels in other states also find the telecommunication fibers irresistible. Fred Lawler, president of transit carrier Level 13 commented, “Honestly, I don’t understand what the big attraction is or why they feel compelled to gnaw through cables. Our guys in the field have given this some thought and jokingly suspect the cable manufacturers of using peanut oil in the sheathing.”
Whatever the reason for the attraction, squirrel damage can be significant, and expensive. Kentucky determined it needs an additional $110 million to continue with the broadband fiber installation, in part, to combat squirrel infractions. Talk within the industry, speculates the hungry rodents are responsible for numerous outages, and may be responsible for more destruction than cyber attacks.
As it moves forward, KentuckyWired said it will use some of its funding to install more, “armored fiber” in wooded areas where the squirrel population is the highest. The project is already well past its original deployment date of 2018, but with rodent countermeasures in place, Kentucky’s broadband outreach program marches on.
June 28, 2019