This notice contains important information about accessing and undertaking works in our buildings during Alert Level 4 shut down for non-essential teams and contractors. It also contains notice that Spark will be entering into a network and system work restriction for the next 7 days (or later if the lockdown is extended).
We take our role as a lifeline utility and an essential service provider very seriously, as we’re involved in the production, supply and distribution of telecommunication services, and maintenance and repair services for utilities and communications across New Zealand.
This means we must work in a way that ensures the continued operation and maintenance of the network and service to our customers.
It also means we must temporarily restrict access to our buildings and reduce works at these sites from 11:59pm Tuesday 17th August to midnight Tuesday 24th August (or a later date if lockdown is extended) so we can protect our people and our most sensitive environments.
Spark will also be entering into a network and system work restriction for the next seven days which means that no updates, upgrades or changes will be able to be made to the network and systems over this period.
To help do this, we want to clarify how you can access Spark buildings, and what work can take place now. You can read more about this below.
Any exemptions to these protocols will be granted strictly on a case by case basis. If you require access, please email your request to FromRajeshSingh@spark.co.nz and we will work with you to provide a solution.
Accessing our corporate buildings
At Alert Level 4 our corporate offices, including Spark City, are closed to the public and our people are working remotely.
These buildings are also now closed to anyone who is not a Spark employee, including those people with contractor access cards and Spark access cards (also known as T9s).
While we have retained our onsite physical security teams at all Spark buildings, our security guards do not have the mandate to grant you access. If you have not had written exemption agreed via the email address provided here, our guards will be unable to grant you building access.
Accessing and undertaking works in our network buildings and exchanges
We are placing temporary restrictions on access to our Auckland network buildings and have extended this to our Hamilton Exchange in Caro Street to best protect these environments and the technical teams working in them during lockdown. Here’s what that means for you:
Accessing network buildings
In the event you do not have 24/7 access to our network buildings, to gain entry when arriving on site you will now first need to:
- call the Spark SASOC Team on 0800 10 30 60 and select Option 3;
- confirm your permit and job details, and answer COVID-19-related health questions that align with our current sign in procedures.
Once you have clearance, SASOC will activate your access card for the duration required to carry out the work. It is good to note that all access requirements are contingent on criticality of works and a relevant and approved permit for the associated works.
Works in our network buildings
As an essential service provider, and in line with the Government’s directive, we are looking at what works can continue during Alert Level 4 and what works we can defer. We know our key industry partners, contractors and suppliers are doing the same and a framework around those will be agreed between the relevant organisations. Any supplier or contractor entering our buildings must have a valid Network or Operational requirement for such entry and relevant Spark permit for that associated works.
In order to help us provide service stability across all Spark and customer networks, all work on IP Core, Mobile Core and Access, Core Transport, IMS, Power Building Service, PSTN, and ICT networks is restricted (Major Work Restrictions).
The Major Works Restriction means that all major changes, including configuration, build work, and software loading will be reviewed with a view to limit change and prevent the loss or degradation of service to customers. Exemptions will be reviewed via the SASOC and permit process.
The Major Works Restriction does not affect urgent fault fixing, restoration and individual customer configuration work.
If you have any questions about what works are priority, please email FromRajeshSingh@spark.co.nz and we will help direct you to the relevant team in the business for help.
Accessing and undertaking works in our datacentres
Our protocols on accessing data centres, whether in a network building or at a standalone site like Takanini, is unchanged. We continue to use the same strict access protocols as what we now require for people to enter network buildings, as outlined above.
We issued the attached Spark Inform to our data centre customers today setting out what works are ‘higher priority’ and what works are ‘lower priority’ during the Government lockdown.
If you are a contractor, customer, or partner working in our data centres, please consider prioritising work before submitting your requests. Please get in touch with the customer directly, Datacentre Service Desk or the Spark Customer Lead for guidance on how best to progress any works.
Essential Works Support Letter
We understand that as part of your obligations to the Government Alert Levels relating to essential works being carried out across New Zealand you may require a supporting letter from Spark confirming that you are delivering services for Spark as an essential services provider. If this is the case, we ask that you provide a list of people performing the services with a clear view on what projects they are delivering against and how this aligns to an essential service, we ask that you provide this request to FromRajeshSingh@spark.co.nz.
Once you have provided the list of names and the link to the project Spark will generate a letter for you as a provider to share with your relevant team members, this letter will act as a supporting letter and is to be used in conjunction with a letter generated by the team members employer.
What we ask of you
Helping our team work remotely
The vast majority of Spark people are now working from home. There are still some key members of our wider team who continue to work onsite at designated Spark buildings or at alternate sites in order to keep our critical network and services running smoothly for New Zealand.
We don’t anticipate any issues with remote working, but here’s how you can help:
- Send only digital documents as physical mail might be delayed and we want to ensure no essential services are impacted, eg: contract notices, receiving invoices.
- Accessing key staff members may be limited while we work through our new team norms during the COVID-19 response.
- Continue to ship any items that are already on order.
If you have any questions or are unclear on how best you can support us, please email FromRajeshSingh@spark.co.nz.
Health and safety
We ask that you continue to comply with the New Zealand Government COVID-19 protocols and apply all necessary health and safety measures in a way that maintains physical distance between people and ensures appropriate heath, hygiene and safety measures are in place, especially where it is not possible to deliver services remotely.
We are absolutely committed to doing this too, so that together we can support each other and keep our people safe and well. We know that our services and infrastructure support your business continuity, and we want to reassure you that this is a focus for us too.
If you have a suspected or confirmed case, and or, if If you or a staff member working directly or indirectly with Spark or our joint customers has:
- been exposed or potentially exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or
- has already tested positive for COVID-19 please immediately contact Paul Uttley, Spark’s Health & Safety Lead Partner on 021 680 813.
If you or a staff member working directly or indirectly with Spark or our joint customers are requested to take a COVID-19 test where there has been no contact with a potential or confirmed COVID-19 case (e.g. routine medical testing), then we ask that in addition to working with the Ministry of Health to trace recent movements of the individual and determine whether there are close and / or casual contacts, you also urgently contact the Spark Health & Safety team on firstname.lastname@example.org, and share any information that you can while complying with the Privacy Act 2020. We note that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has issued guidance on these types of scenarios https://www.privacy.org.nz/blog/faqs-on-privacy-and-covid-19/.
It is very important that Spark is kept informed as soon as possible so that we can support you and your business, and the people your company works with along with our own people. Spark will only use any information shared to take steps to attempt to prevent or lessen any serious threats to the health or wellbeing of our people and those of our suppliers and customers. Spark will keep your organisation similarly updated too if we have any confirmed or potential cases of COVID-19 that are traced back to anyone within your organisation, strictly for the purpose of enabling you to take appropriate steps to help keep your people safe and minimise concerns about risks to your people in our buildings.
NZ Covid Tracer App
We are reminding all our people, suppliers and contractors that it is also important to download and use the Government’s contact tracing app – the NZ Covid Tracer App – to ensure you are supporting contact tracing as much as possible, as this is a critical part of our defence against Covid-19.