Pipe burst in broadband rollout

17:00, Jun 20 2014

A burst water pipe caused by a contractor laying ultrafast broadband fibre is one of 13 significant incidents that have plagued the fibre rollout since 2011.

The pipe was damaged by Transfield Services Ltd contractors, who laid the fibre at a private residence on Saxby Road on Thursday night. The water pipe burst on Friday, causing an early morning deluge.

Last year, contractors struck a water main in Hamilton West that caused flooding to a few shops and unwittingly cut through power cables in the Hamilton suburb of Frankton. Nearly 2000 homes and businesses lost power for nearly an hour before the connection was restored.

Since 2011, there have been 10 high voltage cable strikes by contractors that have had a significant impact on the public.

A gas strike by contractors on a low pressure main in 2012 caused the evacuation of a few shops.

Ultrafast Fibre marketing manager Brett Morris said incidents like this are usually the result of sub-contractors relying on outdated town plans.


Morris said some of the plans contractors have had to work with were drawn up in the 1940s, with the location of underground pipes hand-drawn and not always accurate..

Morris said Ultrafast Fibre takes its "health and safety obligations" seriously with the full support of their build partner WEL Networks Ltd and sub-contractor Transfield Services.

"Accordingly, we regularly review and inspect performance in the field and we are working closely with industry and the Hamilton City Council to mitigate and reduce risk. All our incidents are investigated and where appropriate remedial action is taken and processes improved," he said.

Transfield Services did not get back to the Waikato Times in time for publication.


The government's Ultrafast Broadband Initiative is designed to expand and develop New Zealand's broadband services.

Ultrafast Fibre, which is responsible for the rollout in Hamilton, Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Tokoroa, said about 45,000 homes were targeted for access.

Waikato Times