Fiber to the Squirrel

Broadband's enemy is a gliding rodent

Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief

July 14, 2006

2 Min Read
Fiber to the Squirrel

1:00 AM -- From The Philter's "You're Such an Animal" file, I proudly pass on this note from the great Graham Finnie:

I’m sure you all recall the worrying news I sent recently about crows laying waste to Tokyo’s expanding FTTH [fiber to the home] network.

However, it turns out that crows are only the half of it. According to Nobuo Kuwaki of NTT East’s Technical Assistance & Support Center, speaking here today, an entire menagerie of “living creatures” is waging war on NTT’s aerial fiber loops including monkeys, cicadas, rats and, most bizarrely of all, the white-cheeked giant flying squirrel. Mr Kuwaki said that NTT has developed a variety of counter-measures, including a specially designed squirrel-proof cover.

The picture below, from an article on the gliding behaviour of the white-cheeked giant flying squirrel that appeared in the Journal of Mammalogy, is the only one I could find. In the interests of accuracy, I should add that other more common types of squirrel are implicated in the Japanese attacks.

Mr Kuwaki also threw cold water on the theory propounded in the Times article to the effect that crows are eating NTT’s optical fiber as a form of “mating season stress relief”. On the contrary, Mr Kuwaki said, the fiber-pecking is a year-round affair and the crows do it because it is a “fun activity”.

It’s possible I dreamt this whole thing up and just need a good night’s sleep. I’m off for a Kirin. Or did I already have one?


As ever, I stand ready to pass along your broadband animal stories. Send them now or I'll mobilize my army of flying rats.

— Phil Harvey, White-Cheeked Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Phil Harvey

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Phil Harvey has been a Light Reading writer and editor for more than 18 years combined. He began his second tour as the site's chief editor in April 2020.

His interest in speed and scale means he often covers optical networking and the foundational technologies powering the modern Internet.

Harvey covered networking, Internet infrastructure and dot-com mania in the late 90s for Silicon Valley magazines like UPSIDE and Red Herring before joining Light Reading (for the first time) in late 2000.

After moving to the Republic of Texas, Harvey spent eight years as a contributing tech writer for D CEO magazine, producing columns about tech advances in everything from supercomputing to cellphone recycling.

Harvey is an avid photographer and camera collector – if you accept that compulsive shopping and "collecting" are the same.

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