Safer digging

Accidentally digging up a buried cable can be expensive and inconvenient - not just for us, but for you too. By following a few simple rules, you can avoid cables and the hassle of damaging them.

1. Plan 

Before you start digging, visit to request a cable plan for your site.

If the plan shows our cables in the area, please play it safe and be aware that our underground network plans are indicative only as boundaries and levels of cover change with time. We recommend a physical mark out is done by a qualified asset locator to more accurately see where our network is.

2. Locate cable 

If you request an on-site cable location, our technician will show you where cables are located by marking the ground with purple lines as a digging guide. There’s a minimum charge of $99 +GST for this service, however this doesn’t apply if the cables are found to be Chorus core network distribution cables and are on private property.

It’s important to note that there is an increasing number of independent asset location companies now in operation throughout New Zealand. Chorus cannot endorse the quality or accuracy of the cable location work done by these firms and assumes no liability for any damages that arise as a result.  


3. Hand dig 

A corridor marked by two dashed purple lines shows approximately where our cables run. Where high capacity cables are at risk, we offer a free ‘stand-over' service with our technician on site in an advisory role to assist your digging.

You must hand dig (Pot Hole) at frequent intervals to find the exact position, depth and direction of the cable before full excavation begins.

Note: For all high capacity cables (e.g. fibre cables), a line is marked 750mm (or occasionally more if required) on either side of the estimated cable route. To minimise the risk of damage, we recommend using hand tools (where possible) to dig within the two marked lines.

Damaged cables 

To report damage to our network, cut cables, damaged cabinets or pillars, please call 0800 4 NETWORK (0800 463 896 option 2).


If you do damage our cables, cabinets or plinths or spot damage to our network, it's important to contact us right away. Communications cables can carry potentially damaging laser light or voltages exceeding 100 Volts so please don't hide or attempt to repair any damage yourself. Leave the excavation open and protected, call us and we’ll take care of the repairs.

Even if there's no obvious wire or fibre breakage, moisture could penetrate an incorrectly patched cable, causing disruption to phone and/or broadband services.

If cable damage has been caused by irresponsibility, carelessness or negligence, we will bill the organisation or individual responsible.

The average cost to repair a damaged cable is approximately $750, however repair costs can range from $200 to more than $200,000 so it pays to take care.

New Zealand's Work Safe Guide for Safety with Underground Services is a great source of information for anyone digging and working near buried utilities.