Earlier this year, an outage caused more than 4,000 homes and business on Waiheke Island to be without broadband internet services for up to 12 hours.

Waiheke Island is the most populated and second-largest island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand. It is home to around 9,000 permanent residents with more than 3,000 additional part-time residents (holiday/second homes), as well as a number of vineyards producing internationally awarded wines.

The outage was caused when some civil contractors had damaged a fibre cable that connected the island to the mainland. Once repaired, attention turned to preventing such issues in the future.

“Our team got to work to develop a range of options, which we then presented to Chorus,” said Visionstream Senior Delivery Manager Chris Bateup.

“In the end the option that was chosen was the most sophisticated but also the most exciting as it was a first for New Zealand.

“Most other undersea cables are dropped on the seafloor - this one is dropped and then actually lowered and buried at a depth of around a metre,"

The project will involve connecting a 144F (meaning it has 144 fibres) fibre optic undersea cable between the Waiheke Island Exchange and the exchange in Maraetai, an outer suburb of Auckland.

The capacity of the new cable will be much larger than what is currently servicing the island and will also help to avoid the issues which occurred earlier this year.

Work on the project has been going on since September and has involved drilling for the land section as well as deploying a team of divers whose job is to walk along the sea floor route that the cable will take. Whilst the team is working hard to have the connection up and running as soon as possible they will also be working around the approaching summer season.

“There will be a bit of a break from the laying of the undersea section over the holidays as this is when there is a lot of boating activity,” Chris said.

The project is expected to take five months from start to completion.