Telco representative the NZ Telecommunications Forum (TCF) is condemning wilful damage to New Zealand’s mobile networks, which is causing disruption during the Covid-19 lockdown and response.
Carriers Spark, Vodafone, and 2degrees reported that recent threats or damage to cell towers has included attempts at arson.
In addition, a 4G tower from the Rural Connectivity Group – built as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative – has also been damaged.
“We condemn all acts of vandalism but it’s even more frustrating to deal with an attack on critical national infrastructure during a time of national emergency," said TCF CEO Geoff Thorn.
"If cell towers are damaged and can’t function, then the people they serve will not only lose internet access, there is the real chance that 111 calls will be unable to get through.
“The people responsible for these criminal acts are putting New Zealand lives in danger at a time when the country is making sacrifices to rid our communities of a deadly virus."
Thorn encouraged anyone seeing suspicious behaviour near a cell site to report it to Police.
In other countries, damage to mobile networks has been linked to groups opposed to 5G, but research showed no evidence that 5G caused harm.
The prime minister noted in yesterday’s Covid-19 press conference there was no link between 5G and Covid-19, Thorn said.