Cell phones are distractions for students’ learning. The Seven Summits School wants to limit access to them during school hours. File photo.                                File photo.

Cell phones are distractions for students’ learning. The Seven Summits School wants to limit access to them during school hours. File photo. File photo.

Telus Mobility restores 9-1-1 service, blames equipment failure

Network troubles were cited

Equipment failure — and not increased demand— was blamed for the latest service disruption to Telus Mobility customers.

On Tuesday morning, Telus experienced an equipment failure that caused a service interruption in parts of Western Canada affecting wireless services and some wire-line customers,” stated the company.

The cause of the outage was identified and service restored within an hour.

“We know how critical connectivity is for our customers — especially during this public health crisis — and we sincerely apologize for the service interruption,” stated Liz Sauvé, a spokesperson for Telus.

While more Canadians are working from home and staying connected through social media, Sauvé said an increase in demand wasn’t a factor in the equipment failure.

Central Alberta’s Telus Mobility customers again experienced irregularities in making emergency calls and other service on Tuesday morning.

But unlike last week’s service Telus disruption, Saskatoon Police didn’t have to get involved this time in answering local 9-1-1- calls during the service gap that was resolved about an hour later, at 11:10 a.m.

Although Telus had warned some customers they would be unable to connect with their mobility network and advised 9-1-1 calls be made on land lines, emergency callers did seem to be making it through to local dispatchers, said Red Deer’s deputy fire chief Chris Kearns.

However, these calls were bounced off any cell phone towers in the area, not just Telus towers. And Kearns said it was impossible to get the GPS co-ordinates to locate the callers.

During last week’s service disruption, most 9-1-1 calls being made by Telus Mobility customers in Alberta were somehow channeled to Saskatoon Police.

Kearns said emergencies from Lethbridge to Red Deer and beyond were ending up in laps of Saskatoon dispatchers, so Red Deer’s Emergency Services team sent their Saskatchewan counterparts some frozen treats from McDonalds as a sign of appreciation for the extra work.

Kearns said it’s unusual to have these kinds of cellphone service disruptions.

Regarding the “spotty” coverage experienced by some Alberta Telus Mobile customers, the company stated that they happened in parts of Western Canada.

“I do want to clarify that the equipment failure this morning was not related to the increased demand,” said Sauvé.

Telus has noticed a surge in toll-free calls recently, driven by 1-800 help lines created by government agencies to support Canadians, as well as an increase in tele-conferencing.

Overall “voice traffic” is up by 45 per cent.

General text message traffic is up 30 per cent, and video and picture text messaging traffic is up by 50 per cent.

Home internet usage is up 25 per cent as more customers are at home and online, whether they are working, streaming or gaming.

“Our network is performing exceptionally well and our technicians continue to work around the clock to monitor and maintain capacity for our customers, ” said Sauvé.

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lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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