Chorus will resume installations of fibre when New Zealand moves out of lockdown and into alert level 3 next week, the company has announced.
Work on non-essential fibre installs and Ultra Fast Broadand (UFB) build projects nationwide – with strict adherence to safe working practices.
New Zealand moves into alert level 3 from 11:59pm next Monday.
Andrew Carroll, Chorus' general manager for network and customer operations, says the company has shared its plans with the Government, and its service company partners, and is confident that it can resume work safely.
“During alert level 4 we continued to safely offer essential fibre installs at a rate of about 500 per week. However even this saw more than half of our 4,000 or so workforce impacted,” says Carroll.
“We're pleased to be able to restart work in connecting people to fibre and extending the reach of our fibre network. This is good for customers and it is good for our technicians," he says.
"We know we can do this safely; the health and safety of our technicians and our customers is front-of-mind for everything we do."
Carroll adds, “We make sure our techs are comfortable being in the home and that they are healthy and well. We call ahead and screen the people we are coming to provide service to, we look out for vulnerable New Zealanders, and we use PPE when we are in your bubble.
"Stringent measures are in place to manage physical distancing and hand washing and we have thorough mechanisms to support contact tracing," he explains.
Carroll says retailers are continuing to take fibre orders during level four lockdown and Chorus is aware that there is a backlog of installations to work through.
"There may be instances where we need to prioritise those most in need as we ramp up capacity and work within the alert level 3 restrictions," he says.
“And of course, customers who remain uncomfortable with a technician coming into their bubble are still able to postpone their connection or look at services such as VDSL that we can connect remotely without the need to visit the home," Carrol says.
New Zealand has been in alert level 4 lockdown since 11.59pm on Wednesday, 25 March. It was initially planned to last at least four weeks. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended lockdown to Monday 27 April, with level 3 beginning Tuesday 28 April. The country would remain in level three for a further two weeks before reviewing the alert status again.