The town where internet died: ‘Slump’ in road cuts fiber connection for more than a day

Fiber internet stopped working in Taumarunui early on Monday and it's not back on yet.

Kelly Hodel / Stuff

Fiber internet stopped working in Taumarunui early on Monday and it’s not back on yet.

A “slump” in a road is the reason Taumarunui has had no fiber internet for more than a day.

About 1200 customers in and around Taumarunui – including businesses – have been affected by the outage, which began about 1.30am on Monday, telecomms infrastructure company Chorus says.

For parents it means entertaining the kids offline during school holidays, eftpos is down in many shops, the hospital is about to get an interim wifi connection and there are reports of ATMs being out in the center.

Chorus said that, after delays due to travel times and remote exchange locations, the damaged cable was found near Te Kūiti on Monday afternoon.

READ MORE:
* Spark says services restored to thousands impacted by Chorus cable cut
* West Auckland internet outage likely caused by rodent chewing through cable
* Major fiber cut in Waikato impacts a significant number of customers

Earth movements caused a 30cm slump in a road near Te Kūiti, which took out a fiber connection.

CHORUS

Earth movements caused a 30cm slump in a road near Te Kūiti, which took out a fiber connection.

“Earth movements on a road … resulted in a 30cm ‘slump’ in the road surface,” a statement from spokesperson Steve Pettigrew said.

The movement had broken the fiber connection, he said, but getting the cable out safely required a digger, civil contractors, and traffic management.

The team was working on the site on Tuesday afternoon to expose the cable, about 50 to 100m of which was thought to be damaged.

Once exposed, technicians would splice a replacement fiber cable over the damaged piece “and broadband services will progressively restore”, Pettigrew said.

Chorus apologized for the disruption to broadband services and was working to restore services as quickly as possible, Pettigrew said.

Internet providers Spark and 2degrees said they had not been given estimates on when this could be fixed.

An interim wifi connection was being set up at Taumarunui Hospital, which was also affected.

Christel Yardley / Stuff

An interim wifi connection was being set up at Taumarunui Hospital, which was also affected.

Internet, phone and computers have been affected at Taumarunui Hospital, though clinical services have been kept up, a statement from Te Whatu Ora Waikato said.

Laptops with wireless connections had been handed out to keep staff going in the short term and an interim wifi connection was expected to be set up by late Tuesday afternoon, interim district coordinator Chris Lowry said.

“Staff at Taumarunui Hospital should be commended for how they have responded.”

At the Forgotten World Adventures office, in Taumarunui’s main street, Cassie Kelly was hot spotting off her cellphone and unable to use eftpos.

“Everyone on fiber in town is completely down,” she said.

“I myself just upgraded to fiber a couple of weeks ago so I’m pretty gutted.”

But she was better off than her father, whose cellphone didn’t have coverage either.

This was the longest internet outage she’d experienced in the town and she said it was tricky for parents trying to entertain children in their school holidays.

Down the road at King Country Wheel Alignment, Nick Wood was able to operate as usual.

He’s with satellite phone and internet provider AoNet, a smaller provider he chose to support local and because he could speak directly to someone if there was a problem.

However, he’d received fewer bill payments than usual for this time of the month, which he put down to people not being able to access internet banking.

“People aren’t paying because they can’t,” he said.

Spark said in a statement that a fiber cut to a Chorus line between Hamilton and Taumarunui was impacting some of its broadband and mobile customers.

For 2degrees, broadband fiber connections and some towers were affected, a statement said.

“Chorus contractors are on site working to fix the cut now but there is currently no ETA on this being resolved.”

Chorus said it would update broadband providers on the fix, so customers should check with their internet provider.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.