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NZ telcos preparing to keep up with extra demand over coronavirus self isolation

As more people work from home due the current COVID-19 outbreak, the New Zealand telco industry is preparing to keep up.

Geoff Thorn, CEO of the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) says, “The New Zealand telecommunication industry has high quality networks which are more than able to respond to extra demands on the networks from people working from home and spending more time at home due to self-isolation.

“The industry has made investments in the past to ensure that ample capacity exists, and this was demonstrated by the performance of the networks during the Rugby World Cup," he says.

The NZ Telecommunications Forum (TCF) was established in 2002.  It works with the telecommunications industry in New Zealand to collaborate and develop key industry standards and codes of practice that underpin the country’s digital economy.  

New Zealand Telecommunications Forum members include: 2degrees, AWACS, Chorus, DTS, Enable Networks, Kordia, Northpower Fibre, NOW, Spark, Symbio Networks, Trustpower, Ultrafast Fibre, UnisonFibre, Vector Communications, Vocus Communications and Vodafone.  Huawei are General Associate members.

Thorn says that while each of the telecommunications providers has capacity to deal with increasing demand, the industry is working together to ensure it is prepared in case of anything unforeseen.

 “The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum has commenced a process of regular coordination meetings to ensure that as an industry we are able to respond and if necessary, share resources and logistics,” he says.
 
“The telco industry has worked together in many crisis situations before, such as the Kaikoura earthquake, to ensure that we collectively support New Zealand, and we will continue to do this as the situation develops.”

The Government announced several measures to combat the COVID-19 outbreak in New Zealand, including tougher border restrictions for travellers coming to New Zealand from overseas, with arriving travellers compelled to self-isolate for 14 days, except for those coming from the Pacific Islands. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also announced that events of more than 500 people should be cancelled. Businesses across the country are increasingly making arrangements for remote working where possible.

The Reserve Bank made the decision yesterday to cut its rate to support the economy, with reports that banks will pass the 0.75% cut to customers.

Further announcements from the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Grant Robertson are expected this week, including an economic relief package for businesses affected by the outbreak.

Further updates will be issued as significant new information emerges.