Vodafone, Spark, and Chorus are working together and exploring all options in restoring services to Kaikoura where a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and hundreds of aftershocks have left the South Island town isolated.

The earthquake damaged a major fibre optic cable which runs through the region, with six breaks identified so far along the cable.

State Highway 1 has seen major landslides which make repairs and restorations of the adjacent cable very difficult. The companies estimate it could take weeks or months to fully restore the cable.

"People in the Kaikoura region are likely to experience degraded telecommunications services for an extended period of time," they said.


"In order to support the Kaikoura community, residents, and incoming support workers, Vodafone, Spark and Chorus are exploring a range of options to provide temporary connectivity to the Kaikoura township, including microwave backhaul links to mobile cell sites."

One potential solution they have identified involves using Vodafone's Aqualink cable which links the North and South Island and passes through the coast of Kaikoura. They are exploring the option of repurposing the cable for temporary use in Kaikoura with Spark and Chorus linking to the cable through an additional 50 metres to get to the town.

"This potential solution has a range of challenges and is not certain to be successful, however the three companies expect to have a clearer view on timelines and likelihood of success by the end of today," they said.

The loss of the major fibre optic cable has exposed all three companies to major risks to back up services. Another cable runs down the western side of the South Island, but if damaged, could cause serious connectivity problems for the entirety of the South Island.