No Notch, No Eggs
That's my somewhat exaggerated take after reading one paper published at OFC/NFOEC 2005.
NTT researchers Katsushi Nakayachi, Itsuo Kuramoto, Yasushi Terao, and Hiroyasu Honda published a paper detailing some ways that the carrier is making its FTTH service more reliable. "When we examine the faults by location, we confirmed that 83 percent occurred within the First One Mile of service," the paper states.
Customer equipment problems caused some of the first mile issues, but "fiber failures account for 37 percent of the overall total," the researchers discovered. Chief among the fiber problems was the fact that customers and installation technicians were bending the fiber too much, causing connection failures.
Then the researchers found some real bugs. "A rare incidence in connection failures resulted from cicadas being enticed to lay their eggs in the notches of drop fibers," the researchers wrote.
"We believe that the notch enticed the cicadas, and that contact with the ovipositor where the insulation around the fiber was thinnest led to its damage [ed. note: ewwww!].
"We developed and tested a notchless drop fiber, confirming its effectiveness against cicada damage. From now on, we will use only the notchless drop fiber."
— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading