Tens of thousands of mobile and internet users are without reception in the Far North District due to widespread power cuts from Cyclone Gabrielle.
Almost all areas north of Hukerenui, 30km north-west of Whangārei, are affected and mobile network teams from 2degrees, Spark, Vodafone and Chorus are working to get people connected, often in difficult conditions.
In the absence of power, the teams are getting batteries and generators out to mobile sites they can access while working with lines’ companies Top Energy and Northpower to restore electricity.
Spark has 48 cellsites that are offline mostly due to power cuts and Vodafone 43. If your fixed line broadband has been disconnected and you have a VF mobile connection, Vodafone will give you ‘Always Connected’ for free – seven days’ worth of data for your phone to use as a hotspot until services come back.
There have been widespread cellsites outages as a result of power cuts across Northland. Photo / NZME
For Spark customers who are impacted, these options for assistance are available and more information is available at spark.co.nz/help/internet/manage/get-support-during-cyclone-gabrielle/
Speaking on behalf of the four telcos, NZ Telecommunications Forum (NZTF) chief executive Paul Brislen said Northland and Coromandel remained areas of focus largely affected by loss of power and work continued to get generators and fuel to the locations most in need.
On Monday, the telecommunications sector activated its Telecommunications Emergency Forum to prepare for Cyclone Gabrielle.
The cyclone resulted in widespread cellsites outages caused by power cuts right across the North Island and Brislen said there was nothing the telcos could do to bring back power any sooner.
He said batteries lasted anywhere between four and eight hours after which generators kicked into gear.
“However, getting fuel to where the generators are largely road-dependent and that’s also a challenge, given that a number of roads are closed.
“Where there have been fibre cuts from bridges being washed away or landslides, Chorus and others are working to restore those connections where possible. We understand how important it is for communities to have their connectivity restored and ask for patience as we get Aotearoa connected and recover from this emergency.
“Northland and Coromandel remain areas of focus largely affected by loss of power and work continues to get generators and fuel to the locations most in need. We continue to work closely with the National Emergency Management Agency and the fuel sector on these plans,” Brislen said.
Civil Defence Northland spokesman Zachary Woods said emergency services, councils and Civil Defence teams have kept in contact so far through various other means such as Wi-Fi calling or messenger/teams in certain locations, as well as landlines and sat phones in some instances.
“Our Far North team members have been able to send comms from the Kaitaia fire station and Kaikohe EOC – the Kaitaia hospital manager has also been able to keep in touch with us via these channels as well.”
There are reports of banking services in the Far North District also being affected. The Northern Advocate is awaiting comments from banks, as well as from Fire and Emergency NZ, police and Whatu Ora Northland.
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