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'Urgent maintenance' on Kaikoura cables

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/11/2016

Landlines, broadband and EFTPOS will be down in Kaikoura from 12:30pm Monday for urgent maintenance by Chorus.

The fibre-optic cable servicing Kaikoura will be taken out of service for "urgent" maintenance and repairs to earthquake damage for an estimated 4-5 hours.

Cellphones and 111 should still work normally.

Earlier in the day, it was announced that all Spark cell towers in the South Island, and most broadband and landline connections in and out of Kaikoura had been restored after the November 14 earthquake.

Spark says there are still 88 broadband customers in Kaikoura and Clarence who are still without services, and 241 Spark landlines down due to network equipment damage.

Communications Minister Amy Adams says damage was severe but service has now been restored close to pre-quake levels.

"A key fibre backbone running along the Kaikoura coast was disrupted at multiple locations," she said.

"Cell sites were compromised by landslides, power or link failure, or became inaccessible."

Ms Adams has thanked staff from Spark, Vodafone, 2 Degrees, Chorus and other smaller operators for the way they shared resources and used "every ounce of Kiwi spirit and ingenuity" to rearrange networks and get technicians to remote sites for urgent repairs.

Chief operating officer of Spark connect, Mark Beder, said his team have been working round the clock getting things back up and running.

"Work that would normally take a couple of months to complete has been delivered in a week.

"They have dealt with some pretty challenging circumstances, including landslides, unstable land, broken cables, toppled cell sites, lack of road access to sites and a range of terrible weather conditions."

Vodafone said all its issues were resolved by November 17.

Vodafone, Spark and Chorus collaborated to re-route internet traffic to Wellington and Christchurch through "provisioned capacity on Vodafone's Aqualink cable."

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