Communications Minister Amy Adams has praised telecommunications companies and field force partners for collaborating to restore physical infrastructure to areas badly affected by last week’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake, and returning service close to pre-quake levels.
“New Zealanders will appreciate how important communications are at a time like this as we need to know who to get to, what they need, and how to best prioritise emergency team responses,” Adams said.
“As a consequence of the quakes, a key fibre backbone running along the Kaikoura coast was disrupted at multiple locations.
“Cell sites were compromised by landslides, power and link failure, or became inaccessible. A total of twenty mobile sites went down or were severely degraded, while over 1400 landline and broadband connections faulted due to power and cable disruption which impacted thousands of people.
“Working around the clock, staff from Spark, Vodafone, 2 Degrees, Chorus and other smaller operators have shared resources and assets, and employed every ounce of Kiwi spirit and ingenuity to rearrange networks and get technicians to remote sites to make these urgent repairs.
"We are almost back to the same levels of service pre-quake."
Adams said work to restore connectivity in Waiau is also complete, after a 1km fibre replacement cable was helicoptered in on Wednesday - this means Waiau residents should now have access to landline services.
“I cannot thank the businesses and individuals involved enough,” Adams added.
“From the private helicopter owners who flew technicians to remote sites, the safety specialists who advised and the logistics staff who coordinated the effort, their cooperation and dedication has delivered at a time of great stress.
“Technicians in the field have been closely supported by design teams up and down the country who have collaborated on network rearrangements, temporary link designs and sourcing the special equipment needed to restore services.
“There have been hundreds of personnel involved in this operation and of course many of them have been missed by their own families while they have worked to restore communications. The list to thank is very long.”