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Telecom Statement: Canterbury earthquake – update 4.50pm

Media Statement: Canterbury earthquake – update 4.50pm

While much of Telecom’s network in Christchurch remains operable, there is significant congestion and due to widespread power outages much of our network is currently working off backup power.

111 services remain stable and available and any issues connecting to 111 are likely to be due to network disruption due to damage, power outages or congestion. People trying to contact 111 should try again if they experience issues connecting. The Christchurch 111 call centre has been successfully diverted to Wellington and 111 calls are being prioritised.

All current mobile site outages are due to loss of power and many other sites are working on back-up power. This back-up power is limited as it is reliant on generators and batteries, so prolonged power issues will mean more sites are likely to go down over night.

To minimise the stress on the network and to conserve back-up power we ask people to only use their phones for emergency calls.

We are working to maintain services and adding extra capacity to the mobile networks. Our primary objective is to restore communications to emergency services, civil defence and health and safety organisations.

People without power in their homes, will not be able to use cordless landline phones as base stations require power. If customers have analogue landline phones, which do not require power, will still work without power so they should use them instead.

Telecom has moved to enable free calling from 280 payphones in and around Christchurch for local, national and mobile calls. Free payphone calling will be live from 3am on Wednesday 23 February.

We will provide regular updates as more information becomes available.

Our thoughts are with the people of Canterbury.

ENDS

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