Last week, 2GB radio host and fierce critic of the Australian government's AU$37.4 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) Ray Hadley claimed to have discovered pictures of an exposed NBN cable on the Minnamurra Bridge on the South Coast of New South Wales — only it wasn't actually NBN Co's cable, but rather Telstra's temporary fix for a cable destroyed by rats.
Hadley put the now-removed pictures up on his website on Wednesday, and read out an email from a listener who claimed that it showed how NBN Co is "cutting corners" with the construction of the network.
"It is obviously the NBN cable," Hadley said.
NBN Co told ZDNet last week that the cable wasn't at all related to the NBN. Shortly after 2GB pulled down the photos, Telstra confirmed to ZDNet that it was a temporary cable installed after a rat chewed through fibre and spare dark fibres along the bridge.
"It turned out a rat chewed the cable that runs through the conduit — it's a pipe concreted into the bridge walls on the Minnamurra Bridge. The cable length from one site to the next is 1.9 kilometres. The cable feeds a mobile tower on the western side of the highway, which services thousands of customers," a Telstra spokesperson said.
"The rat unfortunately chewed through the working fibres and all the dark spare fibres. Given the number of customers affected, we made the call to run a temporary cable to restore service to the mobile tower."
The spokesperson said that the conduit that Telstra runs through the bridge is currently blocked, and the company sought permission from the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), which owns the bridge, and Kiama Council to trench new cable under the bridge and under Minnamurra Creek.
"Work is scheduled to start this week, with the bore under the river starting first. Vermin-proof cable is already onsite today," the spokesperson said on Wednesday. "The work is expected to be completed in approximately three weeks."