Cut by construction: details emerging about why the lines went dead in Atlantic Canada
Airport delays, debit and credit was out; cellphones, some landlines down for nearly 4 hours
An accidental snip of two major cables caused a cell service outage across the four Atlantic Canadian provinces today.
Bell says two major cables were cut by third-party construction. The cut affected approximately 885 LTE cellular sites across Atlantic Canada, Telus said on its website.
Today’s outages in Atlantic Canada were extraordinary situations in which 2 major fibre links were cut by 3rd party construction work.—@Bell_News
In a press release sent earlier, Bell spokesman Nathan Gibson said, "The outage was caused by accidental damage to multiple fibre network links. Bell apologizes to our customers for the disruption."
The outage started around 11:20 a.m. NT and affected the Telus (including Koodo) and Bell networks. It wiped out cell phones and debit and credit machines, and caused flight cancellations across Newfoundland and Labrador.
Bell services were restored as of 4:30 p.m. NT, after a rerouting and repair of network infrastructure.
Pizza in line
At St. John's International Airport, Air Canada passengers had to be manually checked in for their flights, even if they had checked in online, and the airline cancelled one flight from Halifax.
Air Canada brought pizza, coffee and snacks to its long lines of waiting passengers.
Big news for <a href="https://twitter.com/AirCanada">@AirCanada</a> passengers in lineup at <a href="https://twitter.com/stjohnsairport">@stjohnsairport</a>: the pizza has arrived and people are digging in. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcnl?src=hash">#cbcnl</a> <a href="https://t.co/T7R7ERAXvD">pic.twitter.com/T7R7ERAXvD</a>—@TRobertst
Porter flights were cancelled, but WestJet flights went ahead.
<a href="https://twitter.com/GarrettBarry">@GarrettBarry</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCNL">@CBCNL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/VOCMNEWS">@VOCMNEWS</a> Air Canada having to check all passengers in manually. WestJet unaffected. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/quietnl?src=hash">#quietnl</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nl?src=hash">#nl</a> <a href="https://t.co/ZEGQ5FbYMN">pic.twitter.com/ZEGQ5FbYMN</a>—@BenSparkes
In St. John's, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary warned that people wouldn't be able to dial 911 from some phones, though the service itself wasn't down during the hours-long outage.
They provided alternate numbers for people who still had phone service to call in an emergency, and Eastern Health stationed ambulances across St. John's for emergency services.
This is a great day for everybody to practice driving WITHOUT texting.... <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nltraffic?src=hash">#nltraffic</a>—@RNC_PoliceNL
The St. John's Regional Fire Department issued a release suggesting people in an emergency situation who were experiencing phone problems to try a neighbour's phone or pay phone, or to go to the nearest fire or police station.
Trouble for shoppers
Cash purchases only at Dominion grocery store in Gander. Worker posted outside says debit/credit been down since phone service left. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcnl?src=hash">#cbcnl</a> <a href="https://t.co/vieqrabWJx">pic.twitter.com/vieqrabWJx</a>—@GarrettBarry
The outage caused problems for debit and credit machines across the province, and some bank branches in the province closed their doors Friday.
Some businesses and brands in the province had a bit of fun with the outage.
Banks closed in Corner Brook from cell/internet outages. This sign posted on Scotiabank branch on Broadway. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcnl?src=hash">#cbcnl</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/quietnl?src=hash">#quietnl</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nocellNL?src=hash">#nocellNL</a> <a href="https://t.co/zdUli936M3">pic.twitter.com/zdUli936M3</a>—@geoffcbartlett
No cell service, no problem. Just open some Jam Jams and wait it out! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/silentnl?src=hash">#silentnl</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/quietnl?src=hash">#quietnl</a> <a href="https://t.co/v60bgGhnTL">pic.twitter.com/v60bgGhnTL</a>—@PurityFactories
The calls that are getting through are from people asking if we're still open. That we are folks...that we are :) <a href="https://t.co/IPq6tFSFEI">pic.twitter.com/IPq6tFSFEI</a>—@nlliquor
Sarah Smellie, Stephanie Tobin and Daniel MacEachern