Verizon FiOS user's service interrupted by ant infestation

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) FiOS user Paul McNamara reported that his TV, phone and broadband services were cut off due to ants eating through the outer casing of the fiber optic cable that brings service into his home.

McNamara, who is Network World's news editor, said he saw a similar incident take place in June 2009.

Ants made their way into a utility junction box that houses the cable splice that brings FiOS into his home; the box is housed on a utility pole across the street.

"When the Verizon technician opened the box it was filled with hundreds of ants (I had actually forgotten about the earlier ant episode, but he clearly expected them to be there)," McNamara wrote in a blog post. "And when he shooed away enough of the critters to get a look inside, the red glow of a stripped fiber optic cable was clearly visible."

The technician said that the ants are drawn to a "jelly-like substance used in the casing."

It appears that the battle between telcos and ants has become a common phenomenon.

According to a report from Rainbow Technology, a utility chemical and safety vendor, various species of ants enter pedestals, cabinets, aerial equipment seeking moisture, food source or housing. As a result, they are causing damage and breaking optical fiber cable and causing outages.

Rainbow Technology said that there are five types of ants that have become known culprits to a number of service provider's outside plant network infrastructure, including: harvester ants (Western and red), odorous house ants, Argentine ants, carpenter ants and fire ants (red imported and other species). These species have caused damage in California, New York, Massachusetts, Florida and Texas.   

For more:
- see this Network World post
- see this report (.pdf)

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