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Australia's high-speed, state-of-the-art broadband network is under attack from thousands of birds. The birds doing the damage are Australia's ubiquitous and colourful cockatoos. They have taken a liking for chewing the broadband cables that criss-cross Australian towns and cities. They are causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the cables. The National Broadband Network (NBN) company that maintains the fibre-optic cables reports that they need to spend around $60,000 each time they are called out to fix the cables. The birds' handiwork is also causing great frustration to Internet users across the country. Internet users have reported Internet outages and painfully slow speeds.
Cockatoos are a type of parrot which normally eats fruit, nuts, wood and bark. A spokeswoman from NBN said she was at a loss as to why the birds had become partial to chewing the cables. She guessed that it was the colourful plastic that encased the power lines and broadband cables. She told reporters: "They are constantly sharpening their beaks and as a result will attack and tear apart anything they come across. Unfortunately, they've developed a liking to our cables." She joked: "You wouldn’t think it was possible, but these birds are unstoppable when in a swarm. I guess that's Australia for you; if the spiders and snakes don't get you, the cockatoos will."Comprehension questions
- How many birds is the broadband network under attack from?
- What have the birds taken a liking to chewing?
- Where do broadband cables criss-cross?
- How much does it cost each time cables are fixed?
- What kind of Internet speeds have users reported?
- What type of bird are cockatoos?
- What are the power lines and broadband cables encased in?
- What are the cockatoos always sharpening?
- When are the cockatoos unstoppable?
- What might get you in Australia if spiders and snakes don't?
Back to the broadband cables lesson.