2 Aug 2005

Telecom Cook Islands puts all overhead phone lines underground

1:35 pm on 2 August 2005

Telecom Cook Islands has put all overhead phone lines underground to prevent future cyclone damage.

The Cook Islands News reports service levels and fault repair times are now back to the levels they were before the cyclones.

Linesmen worked extra hours until the middle of June when the faults were brought under control.

The general manager of Telecom, Phillip Henderson, says that reported faults in February were about three times the average level and about double the usual amount in March.

Mr Henderson says Rarotonga was the only island that did have overhead phone lines, and he says work to put these underground is more or less finished.

"We're completing that, in fact we've theoretically we've completed it by now, we had a completion date of the end of July this year, so all our overhead drop leads and plant is now converted to underground."

Phil Henderson says Telecom's next task is to protect cables which after cyclones have been submerged for extended periods in sea water.