Chorus moves cable severed by digger
The Waikato farmer whose contractors severed a fibre cable, cutting the internet to ‘‘whole towns’’ is upset he’s been made to look the scapegoat.
The Eureka property owner did not want to be named for fear of retribution from those affected by the outage.
But he said he had no idea the cable was ‘‘buried under the front section of my home’’.
‘‘It wasn’t on my property title, not on any LIM report, there were no warning signs posted and it was obviously not on the [Matamata-Piako district] council’s books either because they gave me permission to dig.’’
The cable, about 400mm600mm underground, was cut by a digger when excavation began on a new shed on the property on May 28.
It affected broadband connections for people in Waitoa, Manawaru, Morrinsville, Te Aroha and Motumaoho. Some mobile cell sites were also affected.
In particular, business in Morrinsville had to shut down after the cable was cut about 11.20am.
Chorus and Spark commented for earlier stories, reinforcing the message for people to check the website beforeudig.co.nz.
‘‘It annoys me that the blame has been laid with my contractors because they’ve cut the cable. It’s all very well for Spark and Chorus to say check before you dig but as far as I can see, no one knew the cable was there.’’
Business and community leaders in Morrinsville complained to Chorus about not having a backup system when the internet went down.
‘‘I totally understand where they’re coming from and the problem it’s caused. But I have to ask, why is there a cable, which I believe is of national significance, under the front yard of my property?
‘‘It’s not just supplying someone down the road with a connection, it’s supplying whole towns.’’
He said Chorus staff had come on to his property to fix the problem. Holes had been dug but left open with no safety fence.
He was also unsure who would have to pay for the repairs or for the cable, if it had to be moved.
‘‘I also don’t know what this means for my property. I can’t do anything with the front yard, like put in a garden or grow trees, because the cable’s there.’’
He thought there should be more information shared on the location of telecommunication cables between Chorus and councils.
In a statement, Chorus confirmed the cable was laid in the 1980s when the land was a farm, not residential. The cable was protected under the Telecom- munications Act, with specific easement required.
Chorus said it would not appear on property records but would on the beforeyoudig website.
‘‘This is a free service that provides information on the location of underground utilities.’’
Chorus said the person who developed the land in 2005 should had made sure the cable was listed on property records, because the land use changed from rural to residential.
Chorus said legally the cable was allowed to remain but agreed the property owner had been put ‘‘in an unfortunate situation’’.
‘‘We have reached an agreement with the property owner, although the cable will remain located on their property, it will be relocated to a more suitable position. The customer is happy with this outcome.’’
A further outage will be made while the work was completed on June 11.
Chorus said in emergencies it could access properties without first asking landowners. But it would expect all technicians to make reasonable attempts to notify property owners.
‘‘It is disappointing to hear that the work site was not left in a safe manner. Health and safety is something we take very seriously and we will be taking the matter up with our service company contracted to do the work.’’ no
From major building projects to smaller excavations closer to homes, Chorus is urging all people to visit the website beforeudig.co.nz before work begins, to detect any utilities which may be underground (file photo).