Fallen tree causes phone and internet service outages across swath of northern B.C.

·2 min read
Telus says it's working to restore wireless service in northern B.C. (Mark Lennihan/Associated Press - image credit)
Telus says it's working to restore wireless service in northern B.C. (Mark Lennihan/Associated Press - image credit)

UPDATE, June 8, 6:30 a.m.: The outages in northern B.C. have been resolved, according to Telus's service outage map. CityWest, an internet service provider in Prince Rupert, said in a Facebook post that their services were online at 8:45 p.m. Tuesday. It was unclear when Telus's service was restored.

EARLIER STORY:

A downed tree has damaged several telephone poles and fibre cables, causing intermittent internet, TV, home phone and wireless service outages between Burns Lake and Terrace in northern B.C., according to Telus.

According to the company, wireless services are affected in Burns Lake, Topley, Terrace, Prince George, Kitimat, Smithers, Granisle and Hazleton.

"Our crews immediately identified the issue and began working in partnership with B.C. Hydro to repair the damage and restore service as quickly as possible," said Telus spokesperson Lena Chen.

E-Comm, the agency that oversees 911 calls in B.C., says services may be affected by the outages. It's advising people to try 911 in case of emergency, but if there's no service, to head to the nearest emergency room, police station or fire hall if possible.

Residents have reported outages that have led to stores only being able to conduct cash transactions and mariners struggling to navigate waters.

Kathleen Palm, a Prince Rupert resident, says she noticed services were offline when her credit card did not work at the gas pump. She has a Rogers cell phone and was able to call in to CBC's Radio West.

"I'm fine and I take it in stride," said Palm. "But if there was a single parent needing diapers and milk, and if they didn't have a certain kind of card, they wouldn't be able to get it. One would expect that someone in the grocery line behind them would pay it forward."

Charlene Fast is employed at Dolly's Fish Farm. She says the business was unable to process any orders. They opened early in anticipation of a cruise ship bringing customers in, but the internet shut down shortly afterwards.

"They're understanding as long as you communicate with them," said Fast of her customers. The hotspot helped with transactions, but Fast recalls card transactions could not be fully put through.

"We have to make sure [the employees] are keeping their receipts in order and writing everything down, and manually calculate everything.

Outage to last until morning in some areas

The website for CityWest, the service provider for Prince Rupert and surrounding areas, is also down. Their Facebook page states the estimated restoration time is early Wednesday morning (June 8).

"We have received word that crews are working to repair the damaged fibre cable that is affecting multiple providers," it said.

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