In West Auckland, a broadband miracle is complete


Chris Keall

UPDATE / May 10: There is closure in our feel-good broadband infrastructure story.

Earlier this week, a $145,0000 Chorus Whisper cabinet was bowled by careless West Auckland driver.

It looked gone for all money, but in something of a Westie broadband miracle, still managed to pump fast internet to most of the neighbourhood.

Now, Chorus says the cabinet has been replaced. The team have just forwarded this pic.

Snappy work guys - but note the reader comment below about installing a couple of bollards to protect that $145,000 investment.

Click to zoom.

$145K cabinet demolished by car in West Auckland 'still working, somehow' - Chorus

May 8: Yesterday afternoon, a Geekzone member posted photos of a car vs Chorus cabinet incident in Metcalfe Rd, Henderson.

Photo: Chorus

The $145,000 Whisper Cabinet looks to have been utterly demolished in the collision.

The vehicle appears to have caused the most Westie of broadband outages.

Remarkably, that's not the case.

Photo: Geekzone

"It’s largely still working, somehow," Chorus spokesman Ian Bonnar told NBR ONLINE.

"It's obviously very badly damaged," he adds.

"We had 12 faults reported on it immediately after the crash, but there was enough slack in the cables that the disruption was limited, and it’s running on battery power."

A replacement cabinet is being installed today and should be operational tomorrow, Mr Bonnar says.

And were the people in the car okay?

"The occupants of the vehicle left the scene, so I think your question about their health might be better directed to the local police," the Chorus man says.

An intact Whisper Cabinet in Mt Albert, in Auckland's inner West. (Photos above and below: Chris Keall)

Manufactured by Christchurch company called Eaton Power Quality, each Chorus Whisper cabinet weighs 240kg, and is anchored with 2 tonnes of concrete.

To protect the Alcatel-Lucent gear inside each $145,000 cabinet from thieves and the weather (but not it seems, West Auckland drivers) each is made from marine-grade aluminium.

Chorus installed 3600 roadside fibre cabinets nationwide during a recent network upgrade as part of a drive to deliver 10Mbit/s+ internet to more than 80% of New Zealanders. The cabinets are connected to local phone exchanges by fibre, reducing the amount of slower copper in the local loop.

5 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

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5 Comments & Questions

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HAHAHA, very sad - but all too predictable.

Being a westie, demolished fences and holes in houses from hit and run cars are all to common place.

Wonder if we will see big anti-car poles installed in front of them throughout west Auckland.

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An investment of a couple thousand in some bollards is needed

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....well that would depend on how many cabinets there are to 'protect', how useful bollards would be as protection, and how often they get totalled by cars.

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I was involved with the roll-out of the cabinets. It was hard enough dealing with NIMBY residents as they thought the cabinets were ugly. Putting 2 bollards in front of the cabinet would really irk the residents.

Plus you'd need some quite hefty bollards to stop 1 ton of car @ 100k/h

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Those cabinets must be the Toyota Hilux of the telecommunications world!

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