Difficulties slow cable installation

The Neck, beside Lake Hawea. PHOTO: MARK PRICE
The Neck, beside Lake Hawea. PHOTO: MARK PRICE
Ultra-fast broadband is on the way to Makarora, but is unlikely to be there in time for Christmas.

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.

One of the two machines creating a trench for the fibre optic conduit makes slow progress through...
One of the two machines creating a trench for the fibre optic conduit makes slow progress through The Neck, beside Lake Hawea. PHOTO: MARK PRICE

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.

mark.price@odt.co.nz

 

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