Update: Telcos work hard to restore networks in Christchurch

Majority of Telecom, TelstraClear lines restored following 6.3 magnitude earthquake

New Zealand telecommunication companies have reported that networks are in the process of being restored following today’s earthquake in the Canterbury region.

The earthquake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, first struck at 12:51pm New Zealand time and was followed by a number of aftershocks, the largest a magnitude 5.7 which was six kilometres deep and centred 10 kilometres east of Canterbury.

A Telecom NZ (ASX: TEL) spokesperson said that while much of its network in Christchurch has been restored, there is significant congestion and due to widespread power outages, the network is currently working off backup power.

“To minimise the stress on the network and to conserve back-up power we ask people to only use their phones for emergency calls,” he said in a statement.

Emergency services are reportedly stable.

“The Christchurch Telecom 111 call centre has been successfully diverted to Wellington, and a back up site in Palmerston North is on standby if required,” he said.

In addition, due to the loss of power in customers’ homes, wireless landline phones are not working as the base stations require power.

“If customers have analogue non-wireless landline handsets they will still work without power, so they are encouraged to use those for landline calls,” the spokesperson said.

Telecom is also offering residents free calling from 280 pay phones in and around Christchurch for local, national and mobile calls.

Telecommunications company TelstraClear announced its Christchurch call centre has been evacuated and all staff have been sent home.

“Widespread power outages remain in Christchurch,” a spokesman told Computerworld Australia. “As a result, around 100 of our cabinets are running on back up power.

“Our voice services are still operating, except where there is damage to phone lines, individual premises or power is lost to premises.”

Around 25,000 of TelstraClear’s cable modem customers are without services due to loss of electricity.

The telco has advised customers with no power to use corded phones rather than cordless phones to receive voice services.

A Vodafone New Zealand spokeswoman reported that eight network sites are still damaged but it has now mobilised generators from Wellington and Auckland to the area to ensure communications continue.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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