Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Crows Sabotaging Japan's Fiber Optic Infrastructure

Edgar Allen Poe tried to warn us about the crows, as he pondered weak and weary. But did we take heed? Apparently not enough. Right now mischievous crows are pecking away at the fiber optic infrastructure of Japan, causing more damage to Tokyo than Godzilla ever did.

Is it mischief? Is it calculated? Are they agents of a foreign government jealous of the leadership Japan is showing in the telecommunications field?

According to an article in the Daily Yomiuri Online, the whole thing is being laughed off as birds-being-birds. They might be just excitable during the breeding season or they may find pecking at fiber optic cables to be a form of play. Either way, there were 689 incidents of crows damaging fiber optic cables last year and 400 incidents in just two months this year. Wrapping the fiber optic cable in tubes doesn't seem to help. The clever corvids peck their way in, regardless.

Perhaps this is just a bird-brained prank gone too far. You've seen the Windex commercials where a couple of punk crows close a guy's patio door and then ring the bell, guffawing as he walks right into the glass? It's not that much of a stretch to imagine them rolling on the power line laughing (ROPLL) as the Internet service goes dead in building after building.

"Hey, Wilson, why don't you Google fiber optic nest? Haw-Haw-Haw"

Tokyo Electric Power Company may not be getting overwrought despite the apparent increase in frequency of these insidious denial of connection attacks, but I'm a little concerned. What if this behavior spreads like technical version of the bird flu to infect crows in the US? It could be especially damaging to our nascent consumer fiber optic broadband service, which is just starting to be deployed in earnest. Bad enough that the little feathered fiends poop on our cars. We can't have them knocking out our Internet service too.

Fortunately, Verizon is burying most of their fiber to the premises (FTTP) lines. Perhaps we have more to fear from graboids.

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