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Mouse motorways leave IT managers feeling ratty

A cabling company that has refitted offices at some of Britain's biggest banks and law firms has a gnawing problem: rats.

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A cabling company that has refitted offices at some of Britain's biggest banks and law firms has a gnawing problem: rats.

Will Garside

Despite falling sales of IT hardware last year due to a post-Y2K sales slump, Cableship experienced a 12% rise in requests for anti-rodent protective sheaths for cables.

"It may sound farcical, but we've lost track of the number of times a hungry rodent has brought a business to its knees," said Richard Bell, executive director.

Cableship is not alone in finding rats a problem. A spokesperson for pest control company Rentokil confirmed that the modern, purpose-built office building is perfect for rodents who use the structured cabling ducts as mouse motorways. "The incisors of rodents are as sharp as industrial diamonds and gnawing away at cables is a perfect method of sharpening their teeth," he said.

Two years ago, Computer Weekly magazine reported that an unnamed City financial institution had been stricken by rats.

Roddy Adams, a cable design manager, said, "A well known financial institution in London's Broadgate has experienced rodent problems but it is quite expensive to shield all the copper pairs. Instead we have put an armoured jacket around the fibre pairs which potentially carry a larger volume of valuable data."

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