Internet restored in Labrador West, service provider seeking reimbursement

Telus internet and telephone service went out in Labrador west on Wednesday morning, but CRRS says it was fixed around 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.

3,500 accounts were without phone and internet service since Wednesday morning

Some internet customers in Labrador west are without service for a third day. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Internet and phone services have been fixed and are up and running, albeit at a reduced capacity, in Labrador West as of 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.

Robert Burton of the CRRS says services have been fixed but there is still some work left to do as technicians continue to fix the broken fibre link.

Burton says general internet activities such as email and social media are fine, but streaming services will be running at a reduced capacity until the link is completely fixed, which Burton added should be by Saturday morning.

Some customers in Labrador west may be reimbursed for time spent without internet access.

CRRS has asked its provider, Telus, for compensation for the loss of access, and if they receive that it will be passed on to customers, network operations manager Robert Burton told the Labrador Morning Show Friday.

"Certainly we'll be going after our provider for some kind of compensation for this outage, as it was significant, and we fully intend to pass that on to our customers in one way or another," Burton said.

CRRS, a non-profit, carries Telus internet in western Labrador.

Access hopefully back today

Crews had to stop working to restore internet access Thursday night, as they weren't equipped to work in darkness, but planned to resume at first light Friday morning, Burton said.

The cause of the outage was a complete severing of the line, which runs on Iron Ore Company of Canada [IOC] land, and a full kilometre of cable needs to be replaced, he said.

The outage affected internet and telephone service for 3,500 customer accounts, he said, which he estimates involves 10,000 people.

Two-pronged problem

Labrador west was actually affected by a second outage for Bell customers Thursday, unrelated to the CRRS problem.

Burton's understanding is that the service issue in town was related to severed and damaged copper cables belonging to Bell.

The simultaneous issue caused a lot of confusion, as local infrastructure is often shared between the two telecom companies and the IOC mine.

"It was really a perfect storm," he said. "It was just unfortunate that it happened the same time."

This outage is especially large but isn't the first one CRRS has dealt with recently, Burton said.

It has purchased a redundancy, which is a different path to the internet, because of more regular outages due to breaks in the Quebec region, he said. However, that is not functioning now either.

"This is kind of two-pronged for us," he said.

"We currently have an investigation going as to how this one point of failure could affect the two sides of our connection, and meanwhile the repairs are ongoing."

Getting access to those redundancies in case of an outage is a priority for CRRS, Burton said, but can be difficult because of the area's remoteness.

"We realize it's very frustrating and we're doing everything to try to add as much reliability and redundancy into the network at all times."

With files from the Labrador Morning Show

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