Completion of internet back-up in sight

Much of the West Coast is just months away from having a back-up internet cable, hopefully ending blackouts that have hit businesses and even prevented 111 calls.

In September, Hokitika and areas south were left without phones, internet, medical alarms, eftpos and cash machines for 34 hours, after lightning struck a fibre-optic cable.

In late November, Westport was out for seven hours, and, again, no-one could call 111.

Work on laying a second fibre cable from Fox Glacier and over the Haast Pass to Lake Hawea is almost complete, which will leave a back-up in place from as early as March.

The Lake Hawea build is due to be completed by March 31. Work is being carried out now in the Haast Pass.

Chorus spokesman Steve Pettigrew said it was the last part of a loop that would run from Greymouth to Christchurch, Timaru, Lake Tekapo, and then Lake Hawea.

The second fibre build project will extend the cable from Te Anau to Milford Sound and is due for completion at the end of September.

After the southern work is complete, Buller will remain the weak point.

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