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French contractors are laying fibre optic cable along State Highway 6, the Haast Pass, to serve communities at Makarora, Haast and other parts of South Westland through to Fox Glacier.
While they were progressing at the rate of about a kilometre per day earlier this month, they have struck hard going through The Neck, between Lakes Hawea and Wanaka, 20km short of Makarora, and the pace has slowed.
The project is funded by the Government and being run by Chorus in conjunction with Crown Infrastructure Partners.
Once the 240km section to Fox Glacier has been completed, the contractors will move on to the 120km route between Te Anau and Milford Sound.
Chorus external communications manager Holly Cushen said last week the routes were "challenging" from an engineering perspective.
"Long lays and difficult terrain is what our engineers and field force undertake.
"For example, we already have a fibre route across Arthurs Pass."
Ms Cushen said the work was timed to avoid the worst of the winter weather.
"The logistics of accommodation, equipment and repairs, supply of materials, weather and ensuring the safety of our crews is paramount in a remote area such as this."
Asked when Makarora residents might be able to hook up to the fibre, Ms Cushen said Chorus was focused on establishing the main fibre along the routes, and there were no confirmed dates.