Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

A Need for Telecommunication Disaster Risk Mitigation in New Zealand

All communication projects must include disaster risk assessment and mitigation. Dr Ulrich Spiedel, senior lecturer in computer science in the Faculty of Science at the University of Auckland, pointed this out as a response to the communication network outage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle. He iterated that more than affordability is needed.

According to Spiedel, around 80% of cell site failures during Cyclone Gabrielle were caused by power outages, and approximately 20% were caused by a loss of backhaul connectivity (the responsibility of telecommunications infrastructure provider Chorus). He said that modern communication systems require power and what engineers call “backhaul,” or cables that connect cell towers and exchanges to the national network.

“When Cyclone Gabrielle hit, both were severely damaged. Many sites lost power shortly after the mains failed. The battery was only designed to run for a few hours or several days at the most,” he explained.

Much of the backhaul – often fibre optic cables running parallel to power lines along important roadways – was also destroyed by landslides and flooding. As a result, even if cell sites still had power, they could not link anyone anywhere.

This resulted in the deactivation of many cell sites, including those operated by the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG), the government-appointed supplier of broadband and mobile services in sparsely inhabited areas. Emergency services have also progressively abandoned their radio-based communication networks in favour of less expensive cell phones that provide greater privacy and coverage.

Furthermore, people and emergency responders require fuel for vehicles, food, and other supplies. However, digital payments require internet service.

Failed operator-owned urban cell sites are frequently covered by neighbouring cells. If the power goes out, they can usually be reached and supplied with generators—much of the first reconnecting progress after the typhoon was achieved in this manner.

Cyclones and storms aren’t the only dangers. Tairwhiti and Hawke’s Bay, for example, are vulnerable to offshore Hikurangi subduction zone earthquakes, which could result in tsunami inundation and slips.

Manage the calamity

Spiedel recommends considering two fundamental technical concepts: site resilience and variety to deal with many forms of potential calamities. Resilience could imply outfitting cell sites with solar or wind generating, larger batteries, and “redundant” technology to allow them to operate for extended periods without needing external power or access.

Cell sites could require a separate, alternate backhaul path, such as a second cable running in an opposite direction or a microwave or satellite link. It could imply attempting to link a wire to the internet from both ends rather than simply one. This means both sides of a break could be provided from either end.

Diversity could include having more locations and using alternative cable pathways like rail tracks, and overhead high-voltage power line towers more frequently. More connectivity between these corridors for usage in crises could result.

International connectivity is also essential. New Zealand is currently linked to the rest of the globe by five undersea fibre-optic cables. However, an enormous volcanic eruption, for example, on Auckland’s North Shore, could shut the country off from three or possibly four of these.

A satellite internet service can be helpful. It assisted Wairoa in reconnecting with the outside world after hours of total darkness and subsequently brought countless banks and stores back online. It is simple to set up, does not rely on local infrastructure, and requires only a modest generator for power.

Satellite backup cannot supply the necessary worldwide capacity in a catastrophic disaster. They are, nevertheless, still a viable choice. The terminals are not expensive. Therefore equipping every Civil Defence site with one should be relatively inexpensive.

Maritime VHF radios are standard in coastal communities, which could be utilised onshore if other systems fail. Strangely, boaters are advised to have two modes of communication, yet emergency services are only required to have one.


Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.


As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.


Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit


SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.


HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 


IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.