Sporadic landline poses a health and safety risk for Mackenzie District, Canterbury residents video

JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Ashwick Flat farm owner Greg Anderson, is sick of sporadic landline coverage.

A lack of reliable landlines may have posed a health and safety risk for dozens of people in the Mackenzie District, it has been claimed.

For the past year, about 30 families along Clayton Settlement Rd, about 20 kilometres north-east of Fairlie, have been losing their landline connections for up to a week at a time.

This has forced some people to travel more than 10km to get mobile coverage when their phone lines were down.

Ashwick Flat farm owner Greg Anderson is sick of sporadic landline coverage, which he says poses a health and safety ...
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Ashwick Flat farm owner Greg Anderson is sick of sporadic landline coverage, which he says poses a health and safety risk, and affects his business.

Ashwick Flat farm owner Greg Anderson said at one point he had no landline connection for eight days, forcing him to sit in his car at the end of his driveway to make business calls and speak with his family.

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A Chorus spokeswoman acknowledged the current service was "unacceptable", but said a solution was in the pipeline.

Anderson has lived on his farm for about 16 years and only started experiencing problems with the landline in the past 12 months.

"The last six months have been diabolical."

One family with young children was concerned the sporadic landline could be dangerous as they had to drive about 15km for any mobile coverage, Anderson said.

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"What if something happened and they needed help."

Mackenzie District Mayor Graham Smith said he was disappointed with the landline problems, but believed Chorus had been "very good at uncovering the problem".

He hoped a solution would be available quickly.

Chorus stakeholder communications assistant Holly Cushen said independent specialists investigated the source of the problem, which she hoped would have a permanent solution within the next couple of weeks.

"Local copper telephone cables are laid through soil that is relatively dry so the earthing through the ground is poor compared to most areas in New Zealand," Cushen said.

"Due to this, we have determined that interference generated in nearby underground power cables is able to radiate through to the copper telephone cables.

"Chorus acknowledges that the current service to Ashwick Flats is unacceptable and we are investigating a number of possible solutions."

Installing filters on sections of the affected cable was one option it would check if it reduced the problem, she said.

"We are in the process of acquiring the specific filters and will test the method as soon as possible."

 - Stuff

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