Floods cut broadband service

About 500 Telecom customers in the lower South Island have had their ultrafast broadband service cut for the second time in two weeks after the flooded Kakanui River severed a fibre cable near Maheno.

Telecom spokeswoman Lucy Fullarton said heavy rainfall had caused the river to flood at Easter, and again on Monday evening, and the torrent had damaged the fibre cable which runs over the river.

''The river has increased in height tremendously because of flooding. It's pretty phenomenal just looking at the damage.''

Ms Fullarton said the cable was encapsulated in protective casing, but the strength of the flooded river had caused it to break.

The cable was used to service Telecom's ultrafast broadband customers, and as a result, about 500 residential and business customers in Otago and Southland had lost internet and email services.

''That has affected fibre customers in the lower South Island - from just south of Oamaru to as far south as Invercargill.''

A Dunedin bed and breakfast owner, who declined to be named, said the disruption meant the business had no email or internet, and was unable to take online bookings.

Ms Fullarton said contractors had been working to reconnect the fibre, but it had been difficult because the water was so high.

''The guys have had to stop work for now [Tuesday afternoon] because it was getting pretty dangerous, but they will continue to try to fix it. It sounds like they are going to need to wait until the water levels dip a little bit.''

She expected the contractors would resume attempts to fix the cable this morning, and it was hoped it could be repaired by the end of today.

''They are working on it as fast as they possibly can.

''It's quite hard to say how long it will take at this point, because it does rely on them being able to get through this river.''

Given that the river had flooded and disconnected the cable twice in the past two weeks, the contractors were investigating how to prevent it happening again, she said.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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