Mice were behind a recent Telstra network outage in south New South Wales, Australia.
According to ABC, two separate faults occurred within hours of each other last night, impacting 44 mobile sites across the Riverina. Fixed phone line services and ADSL customers were also impacted.
While Telstra Regional general manager Chris Taylor said one of the faults involved a fiber cable being cut, the other fault was caused by rodent-related damage to an exchange’s power source near Temora.
“It's believed it's been mice that've caused the damage out there,” he said.
The provider confirmed to News.com.au that they were working to restore service after “a power issue at an exchange at Barmedman near Temora caused by mice damaging the equipment needed for transmission.”
Livestock agent Ron Rutledge told ABC the outage, from Hay to Deniliquin and Echuca on the Victorian side of the border, had led to “mass chaos” and there had been no communication from Telstra.
“There's been no mobile reception whatsoever,” he said. “It's thrown our livestock industry into chaos trying to communicate via our saleyard program and transiting stock and getting information out to clients — it's been very challenging.”
Australia’s New South Wales is currently suffering from an invasion of mice, with local farmers seeing crops eaten and homes infested. The rodents are now reportedly spreading into neighboring states.
Taylor said it was not as unusual for mice to damage telecommunications cables.
“Even late last year between Griffith and Rankins Springs, we did have mice impacting a fiber cable,” he said.
Similar issues were reported in local Australian press in January, March, and April in Pukatja, Gilgandra, and the Liverpool Plains Shire.