Phone services restored after widespread outages in Atlantic Canada

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Jackie Dunham,
Published Friday, August 4, 2017 11:02AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 4, 2017 5:02PM EDT

Service is being restored after widespread mobile and landline phone service outages affected customers, emergency operations and airports across parts of eastern Canada.

Bell confirmed that services were back online in a statement on Friday afternoon after a “major service outage” affected internet, TV, wireless and landline phones in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

The outage was caused when major fibre network links were cut during third-party construction in two separate locations, Bell spokesman Marc Choma confirmed.

“We are still investigating how the fibre cuts happened with those involved,” Choma told CTV News.

The outage lasted more than four hours, from 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Atlantic time. Bell brought services back online by rerouting traffic through other networks.

In a statement, Bell apologized to customers “for the disruption.”

The outage had a ripple affect across the region. Multiple airports reported flight delays, some debit and credit card users were affected, and TD Bank said some of its branches were closed Friday. Some emergency operations in the region reported difficulties with 911 services.

Telus said the outage affected 885 LTE cell sites across the region. Koodo and Virgin were also affected because they use Bell’s towers.

A spokesperson with Rogers and Fido said its cellular network was not affected.

Cellular service began coming back online around 3:30 p.m. local time, according to telecommunications firms.

“The wireless service interruption affecting some regions of Atlantic Canada is being resolved, and service to Telus and Koodo customers is being restored,” Telus spokesman Richard Gilhooley told the Canadian Press in an email.

Communications problems were reported by emergency services across the region, including Gander Fire/Rescue in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia’s Emergency Health Services, and 911 and first responder services in New Brunswick.

In response, emergency vehicles were deployed in St. John’s, N.L., Saint John, N.B., and other Atlantic cities in public areas for people who may have had difficulties reaching emergency crews via phone.

Airports across the region responded by warning travellers about possible flight delays.

The Halifax Stanfield International Airport tweeted that landline and cell phone outages were impacting some flights and advised travellers to check with their airline for status updates.

New Brunswick’s Fredericton Airport also said the phone outage was affecting services there and told flyers to prepare for potential delays.

And the Greater Moncton International Airport told travellers to arrive early, as check-ins were being conducted manually due to the outage.

CTV News’ Todd Battis reported that banks and some ATMs were closed in parts of New Brunswick. He said some stores in the province also shut down as a result of debit and Interac service problems.

With files from CTV Atlantic and the Canadian Press

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Phone services restored after widespread outages in Atlantic Canada

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