New Zealand Earthquake Hobbles Telco System

A major earthquake near Christchurch, New Zealand has caused widespread damage and at least 65 deaths. Much of the city is without power, and telecom companies are urging residents to use SMS text messages instead of mobile phone calls to preserve limited battery capacity.

Rich Miller

February 22, 2011

1 Min Read
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A major earthquake near Christchurch, New Zealand has caused widespread damage and at least 65 deaths. Here's a roundup of reports from regional media on the quake's impact on telecommunications infrastructure:

Christchurch Press - Communications problems in Christchurch could get worse before they get better, following today's earthquake. Telecom warned more of its mobile network in Christchurch might be knocked offline overnight in areas without mains power, as back-up batteries and generators exhausted. Vodafone spokeswoman Michelle Baguley said it was in a similar position, though more back-up generators were on their way to Christchurch. - Today's devastating earthquake in Christchurch turned the centre of the city into what's described as "a warzone", with lines of communications severed. Telecommunications networks are severely damaged, with phone lines reported to be down and most of Christchurch being without electricity and water. Phone lines still working are congested and people are advised to only emergency calls.

Techworld - TelstraClear reported that its core infrastructure in the region was still operating but there were widespread power outages in Christchurch. "As a result we have around 100 cabinets without power," a spokesperson told Computerworld Australia.

Computerworld NZ - Throughout the afternoon network operators have reported that power outages and network congestion has caused loss of service. Telecom, Vodafone, 2degrees and TelstraClear have urged mobile customers around the country to text, not call, unless it is essential. This is to minimise stress on the networks and to conserve back up power.

For ongoing coverage of the quake and its aftermath, see the Christchurch Press and New Zealand Herald.

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