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, the company experienced a service interruption in parts of Western Canada. The cause was identified and service was 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 Sauve, a spokesperson for Telus.

Unlike last week’s brief Telus service disruption, Saskatoon police didn’t have to get involved in answering local 9-1-1- calls.

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 cellphone 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 channelled to Saskatoon police.

Kearns said emergencies from Lethbridge to Red Deer and beyond were ending up in the laps of Saskatoon dispatchers, so Red Deer’s emergency services’ team sent their Saskatchewan counterparts some frozen treats 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 Sauve.

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 Sauve.

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lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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