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Published Thursday 9 Apr 2020


The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) strongly condemns wilful damage to New Zealand’s mobile networks, which is causing disruption when the industry is responding to increased demand for phone and internet services during the Alert Level 4 Covid-19 lockdown.

 

Spark, Vodafone, and 2degrees report that recent threats or damage to cell towers has included attempts at arson. In addition, a 4G tower from the Rural Connectivity Group – built as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative – has also been damaged.

 

“We condemn all acts of vandalism but it’s even more frustrating to deal with an attack on critical national infrastructure during a time of national emergency. If cell towers are damaged and can’t function, then the people they serve will not only lose internet access, there is the real chance that 111 calls will be unable to get through,” says TCF CEO Geoff Thorn.

 

“The people responsible for these criminal acts are putting New Zealand lives in danger at a time when the country is making sacrifices to rid our communities of a deadly virus. If anyone sees any suspicious behaviour near a cell site, they are asked to report this to Police.”

 

“In other countries, damage to mobile networks has been linked to groups opposed to 5G.  There has been comprehensive and ongoing research into this issue and there is no evidence that 5G causes harm. The Prime Minister noted in yesterday’s press conference there was no link between 5G and Covid-19, and for more information on this subject please refer to the Chief Science Advisor’s website, as well as the Ministry of Health website,” says Thorn.

 

During the Alert Level 4 lockdown mobile operators are carrying out essential services, maintenance and repairs to their mobile network infrastructure in line with Government-approved procedures.

 

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