Telcos and data centre providers rally in Christchurch, NZ

Networks largely restored, rebuilding of city post-earthquake begins

As the recovery of Christchurch, New Zealand, continues in the wake of last week’s earthquake, telecommunication providers and data centre operators in the country have re-established operations and are now fund raising for victims.

Telstra's (ASX: TLS) New Zealand subsidiary TelstraClear reported that virtually all of its 180 cabinets servicing both residential and business customers had power restored to them.

The telco is also offering Christchurch-based residential customers free national and international calling from landlines.

TelstraClear chief executive, Dr Allan Freeth, said in a statement that the company has created helplines for customers who are experiencing hardship issues.

The company is selling wristbands for $NZ5 ($AUD3.66) each with proceeds going to a mayoral fund established by Christchurch mayor, Bob Parker.

Free residential calling was available to customers in metropolitan Christchurch for two weeks from the day the earthquake struck.

"As power is gradually restored across the affected area, TelstraClear technicians will begin to shift their focus to identifying, diagnosing and restoring any localised issues and faults," said Dr Freeth.

Staff from Telstra Australia have arrived in New Zealand to help with ongoing support for customers impacted by the disaster.

A Vodafone spokeswoman said its network is still functioning and its focus remains on assisting the people of Christchurch.

“18 of our cell sites are still reliant on generators for power at this time and a small group of sites are off the air for a variety of reasons, including inaccessibility due to structural damage and underground transmission cable faults," the spokeswoman said. "These areas are affected as a result, and there will be reduced coverage in some suburbs."

Vodafone customers have donated $NZ520,000 ($AUD380,276) to the NZ Red Cross 2011 earthquake appeal.

Telecommunications provider Telecom (ASX: TEL) has announced that its network is still functioning on mains and generator power.

“If required, our generators are well fuelled to sustain service for a long period of time,” said a spokeswoman in a statement.

“We continue to recommend people in Christchurch minimise the use of mobile phones, and use text messages instead of calls when possible to free up the network for emergency response workers," she said.

Telecom’s subsidiary, Gen-i, reported that its data centres were operable and running on business continuity plans.

“Gen-i is sourcing and deploying ICT equipment such as servers, laptops and mobile devices and is now holding increased stock levels to help restore ICT services for clients,” said Gen-i Australasia chief executive, Chris Quin, in a statement.

NZ ICT services provider, Revera, reported that its data centre in the central city suburb of Addington continues to operate under mains power.

“Revera staff are onsite, as and when required, and working on a rotational basis to allow staff members rest and recovery,” said a Revera spokesman in a statement.

“Our full focus is helping clients and local businesses to remain operational. In this regard we have established a small Revera P2V (physical to virtual) team, which will supply virtual capacity to clients and local businesses whose physical infrastructure has been disabled."

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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