Press Release

Spark has now completed the process of restoring the communications services that were affected by last Sunday’s earthquake. The vast majority of customers with Spark mobile, broadband and landline connections should find that they are now able to use their communications services in the way that they were able to before Sunday night’s quake.

All Spark cell sites in the Kaikoura/ North Canterbury area are up and running. Broadband and landline connections in and out of Kaikoura have been restored, although there are still some localised issues. These involve 88 Spark broadband customers in Kaikoura and Clarence, related to damage to Chorus local network equipment, and 241 Spark landline customers, related to a damaged cabinet. Customers from other providers could be impacted by the same issues. A fix is urgently being worked on by Chorus.

Spark’s technical teams, in collaboration with Chorus, Vodafone and a number of other infrastructure providers, have put a huge effort into restoring services. Mark Beder, Chief Operating Officer, Spark Connect, said, “The Spark team, our contractors and our partners 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.”

Restoring back up options for the South Island

The earthquake damage to the South Island east coast fibre cable at the start of the week meant that a number of telecommunications providers, including Spark, faced challenges as our back up connectivity options were reduced.

Spark South Island landline and broadband services were reliant on the integrity of the Western cable, which runs from Blenheim and Nelson down to Christchurch via Greymouth. Vodafone’s South Island landline and broadband services were reliant on the integrity of the Aqualink submarine cable, which runs from Wellington, to Kaikoura and on to Christchurch.

To provide both Spark and Vodafone with back-ups in case of failure on their remaining cables, the two companies worked together to share cables. This was a task of some complexity and involving some risk, as each companies make changes to its primary source of connectivity. We are pleased to announce that this work has now been completed.

The completion of this work will mean that Spark is better prepared to cope with further disruption caused by earthquakes – or simply if a cable is damaged by earthworks.