Nfld. & Labrador

Drawing the line: Sunday Cove Island residents frustrated with poor phone service

Residents of Sunday Cove Island are calling out Bell Aliant for poor landline service and want to see the phone system upgraded.

Landlines down for hours, cellphones not an option for everyone

Marina Normore is worried about not being able to call an ambulance if her disabled son, Jeremy, needs medical help. (Julia Cook/CBC)

People on Sunday Cove Island want to cut the cord with Bell Aliant after years of poor telephone service.

The island is northwest of Springdale and includes the communities of Port Anson and Miles Cove. Residents say their home phones have stopped working seven times since the beginning of November and are out for 10 to 12 hours at a time.

'As far as I'm concerned, we don't have a phone service.- Wavey  Fudge, Miles Cove resident

"As far as I'm concerned, we don't have a phone service," said Wavey Fudge, who lives in Miles Cove.

"I personally don't have a landline, but I do rely on the landline service for our beeper system for the fire department."

Worried about safety of family

Many residents said Bell Aliant needs to upgrade the phone system to fix the problem. They are worried that one day the landlines will be down; there will be an emergency, and they won't be able to reach anyone for help.

Some people use cellphones, but that's not always an option.

Marina Normore lives in Miles Cove and there's no cellphone reception at her home. She has a son who's disabled and needs constant supervision and medical care.

Some people have already cut ties with Bell Aliant's landline service. (Julia Cook/CBC)

"I have to call the Janeway to give them reports, if he's having a seizure and if they need to increase [medications] and whatever and I've had to walk down the road to get cell service in order to make that call," Normore told the Central Morning Show.

"I need someone to stay with Jeremy and if there's nobody here, well I can't. I would have to leave him alone to be able to do that."

Phone system is too old

Roy Rice lives in Port Anson and doesn't understand why the phone system hasn't been upgraded when neighbouring communities, such as Robert's Arm, have new fibre optic lines.

"You think we're living back in the 1800s ... I mean, this is 2016, you know and we should have up-to-date service," said Rice.

Residents such as Roy Rice from Port Anson have been on the phone with Bell Aliant a number of times and still haven't gotten a clear answer. (Julia Cook/CBC)

Marina Normore said she pays more than a $100 per month for her home phone, while Roy Rice pays about $45 per month.

"We pay our bills every month and only half the time we got service. If I had to keep the hours that we never had no phone service, Bell Aliant would owe us a lot of money," said Rice.

"I'd like to send a strong message to Bell Aliant, tell them to come and take this service out and give us a new one. This service is completely done."

Bell Aliant working on the issue

The people living in both communities are signing a petition to get Bell Aliant to upgrade the system. Some have already cancelled their landline service, while others are holding out, hoping it'll get fixed.

There's a petition set up at the local gas station that will be sent to Bell Aliant. (Julia Cook/CBC)

The company said technicians have replaced equipment to deal with the recent service problems, and it will do more maintenance in the coming weeks to make sure there's stable service for the area.

About the Author

Julia Cook

Journalist

Julia Cook reports from CBC's bureau in Gander, primarily for the Central Morning Show.

With files from Central Morning Show.