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Rats fingered for knocking out NZ's phone network

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Rats are being blamed for crippling New Zealand's telecoms network yesterday leaving thousands of punters without phone or internet access.

Rodents are now thought to have been responsible for severing a fibre on a bridge in the Rimutaka area on New Zealand's North Island.

"Services through that fibre were able to be routed through different parts of the network until the second incident occurred in south Taranaki where a post-hole digger damaged a fibre," New Zealand's telco Telecom said in a statement yesterday.

Although no rodent has actually admitted the crime, engineers reckon the fury little critters may well have nibbled through important cables carrying the country's telecom's traffic.

New Zealand's telco Telecom was able to cope with this outage, but when a contractor severed a cable shortly after while drilling a post hole, much of the telco's network collapsed.

Telecom spokesman John Goulter told AP that it "could not rule out the possibility" that rats had chewed the cables.

"I think getting two accidents of this type at the same time is a freak occurrence," he said. ®

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