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Current as of 23/01/17 09:59AM NZST

Faulty line peeves Whenuapai locals

By Vaimoana Tapaleao, Fiona Connor

Julie Murray says having poor to non-existent phone and internet services has been frustrating for her family as well as anyone trying to reach them. Photo / Dean Purcell
Julie Murray says having poor to non-existent phone and internet services has been frustrating for her family as well as anyone trying to reach them. Photo / Dean Purcell

Residents of an Auckland neighbourhood have had no - or limited - phone and internet access for six weeks which they say is outrageous for a suburban area where huge growth is planned.

Telecommunications provider Chorus, which owns the copper cables in the area, has blamed the problem on a faulty cable but residents don't understand why it has taken so long to fix.

Dozens of houses along Waimarie Rd and Pohutukawa Rd in the western suburb of Whenuapai - which is yet to receive fibre cables as part of the Government's nationwide ultra-fast broadband rollout - are affected.

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"And this is supposed to be the next site of 11,000 new homes and 9000 new jobs," resident Suzanne McFadden said. "Bloody hell, I wouldn't come and live here."

McFadden estimated up to 80 households had issues after she doorknocked many of her neighbours to find out.

Last night, Chorus admitted the lack of service for so long was "unacceptable" and, after calls from the Herald, said it would send technicians to the streets this morning.

Pohutukawa Rd resident Kirke Campbell is so frustrated he wrote to Communications Minister Amy Adams to complain.

The outage was impacting his ability to work and he incurred extra costs buying more mobile data.

"I am a tech person and rely heavily on the internet for communication, banking, tax filing ... and most information as well as all my job files are cloud based. We are using our mobiles for calls out and data as little as possible at a greatly increased expense. As our mobiles are with a different company, Spark won't compensate us for the extra expense."

Campbell's calls to Chorus and his internet service provider, Spark, had been unsuccessful.

"It it a major effort to report the problem to Spark these days and the information I receive is never correct. The 'will be fixed by' deadline has been moved five times."

Julie Murray, who has lived in the area for about 25 years, said the phone lines had always been scratchy.

She and her partner Carl and daughter Jemma had been without a phone for up to six weeks. Their internet access was disrupted most of the time.

"It's [frustrating] when you've got relatives and people trying to get a hold of you and they can't."

The family was also still having to pay the $65 monthly bill, despite having no service.

"They won't stop the payments or refund anything until the problem's fixed," Murray said.

"They're busy doing developments elsewhere and we just get a patch-up job all the time."

Chorus stakeholder and communications manager, Steve Pettigrew, apologised.

"On behalf of Chorus, I'd like to offer our sincere apologies to the residents of Waimarie Rd and Pohutukawa Rd who have lost their phone and broadband services as a result of a cable fault in the area.

"A cable problem was first reported on June 3 in the area, it was repaired on June 9 but seemingly failed again on June 23. We put a temporary service in place on June 29 while making plans to replace the cable, but clearly the temporary repair wasn't effective for a number of residents.

"To be without phone and broadband for that length of time is unacceptable. We've investigating what happened ... and in the meantime have arranged for the repairs to get prioritised with urgency."

Spark have also issued an apology to customers who have been affted saying they have been inundated with more bad weather faults than normal.

"When it comes to these type of issues we are reliant on the network and repair information provided by the network operator, who in this case is Chorus," Spark said.

"Our information is only as accurate as what we receive from them, and both our organisations are working together to ensure we improve this.

"We take full responsibility for the issues we control, such as wait times and doing a better job keeping our customers informed.

"We are working hard to implement initiatives that will reduce wait times and will continue to work closely with Chorus to improve the way they deliver fault and repair communications and how we share these with our customers."

The problem

• Dozens of houses in a Whenuapai neighbourhood without or with limited internet and phone access.

• Blamed on faulty Chorus cable.

• Still on copper network.

- NZ Herald

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