FRAMINGHAM 22 FEBRUARY 2011 -
Telecommunication companies have provided updates on how their networks have been affected by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Christchurch just before 1pm local time Tuesday.
As at 7pm, Telecom said its 111 emergency calls service is stable, and that the Christchurch 111 call centre has been diverted to Wellington. However if people have problems connecting, they should keep trying as 111 calls are prioritised.
Telecom says that from 3am on Wednesday there will be free payphone calling available from 280 payphones in the Christchurch area for local, national and mobile calls.
Throughout the afternoon network operators have reported that power outages and network congestion has caused loss of service. Telecom, Vodafone, 2degrees and TelstraClear have urged mobile customers around the country to text, not call, unless it is essential. This is to minimise stress on the networks and to conserve back up power.
Telecom says that if power is out in people's homes, wireless landlines will not be working as base stations require power, however analogue non-wireless landline handsets will work without power.
Meanwhile Google has set up a 'person finder' website which enables users to share information about people in Christchurch today.
Updates posted throughout this afternoon:
The earthquake has affected power supply to a number of cell sites in the greater Christchurch area which means a large number of customers will be without coverage.
We are focusing on restoring our core network services and a number of actions are underway to resume service.
Vodafone recommends customers if possible avoid making a call on the mobile network, and to try sending a TXT instead. However, if the situation is an emergency, don't hesitate to make that call.
Current Impact for Fixed Line and Broadband Customers
A number of customers will be experiencing a loss of fixed line and broadband. This is widespread across Canterbury.
We are working with the local power company and Civil Defence to maintain service.
111 services remain stable and available and any issues connecting to 111 are likely to be due to network disruption due to damage, power outages or congestion. People trying to contact 111 should try again if they experience issues connecting. The Christchurch 111 call centre has been successfully diverted to Wellington and 111 calls are being prioritised.
All current mobile site outages are due to loss of power and many other sites are working on back-up power. This back-up power is limited as it is reliant on generators and batteries, so prolonged power issues will mean more sites are likely to go down over night.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.