A West Coast man had to drive 80km today to make a phone call after an ongoing phone problem worsened, leaving people in parts of South Westland with intermittent phone coverage.

Paul Wilson of Hunts Beach had to drive to Fox Glacier, where there is cellphone coverage, to report the fault to Spark.

The whole area from Fox Glacier to Paringa appeared to be affected.

Mr Wilson said problems started a month ago, when phone calls would drop out every now and then. After a while the dial tone would come back but the call was lost.


"The last three days it's been diabolical," he said, with calls dropping after just 30 seconds.

"This morning I was unable to dial out at all."

So he has been going through to Fox, an 80km round trip, just to make phone calls.

Using a cellphone, he tried to call Spark again this morning but the one hour delay at the call centre made it impossible.

"I don't want to sit at Fox for an hour," he said.

Mr Wilson said the fault meant old people, and mums with young children, had no way to contact emergency services.

The lack of information was frustrating and the call centre staff were not able to advise when it would be fixed. With a bit of information, people would be more tolerant, he said.

Bruce Bay resident May Cain has also experienced problems with the phone service for a month or two.


In her case, the phone does not always seem to ring, even though she put an extra phone in another room.

"People try to call and say 'where were you', and we were here all along," Mrs Cain said.

Spark spokeswoman Vicky Gray told the Greymouth Star its network team was not "tracking" any particular problem in the area.

"Our advice to customers experiencing any issues would be to call our faults team on *120 as we can also do some checks on the customers' connection to see if there is any isolated issues at play," she said.

Customers with internet access could also use the live chat function at www.spark.co.nz/chat.

Chorus was looking into the complaints.


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