Nova Scotia

Network outages cramp people's plans, hamper businesses

People in Halifax and Sydney were trying to figure out how to get by without cell service on Friday.

Downed networks leave some scrambling to pay tabs while others aren't too worried

Cherly Harper and Conroy Bergen are visiting the East Coast from Victoria. (CBC)

Cherly Harper and Conroy Bergen flew from Victoria to the East Coast to celebrate Harper's 50th birthday, but spent part of Friday rethinking how they'd chart their course as they travel around the region.

"I haven't been out here before," Harper said as she and Bergen finished off a couple of donairs in Halifax.

They were two of the thousands of people in Atlantic Canada on Friday who found themselves without cellular service following widespread outages.

"It's a bit of a problem, maybe," said Bergen, adding he prefers using the GPS on his phone to the one that's in the couple's rental car.

Jonathan Brundige was feeling a little cut off without access to his cellphone on Friday. (CBC)

Jonathan Brundige and Andrew Siddle were also trying to figure out how to handle things such as banking and communicating with people.

Siddle, a Bell Mobility customer, didn't think it was too big of a deal. Brundige wasn't as sure.

"I can survive without technology, I think — hopefully," he said. "My life is my phone, so if I don't have it for a couple of hours I guess I have to figure something else out."

In Sydney, N.S., Darrell Sidney said the outage was affecting his renovations company.

"You can't do your banking, can't use your cellphone," he said. "It's pretty hard when you can't contact your workers, your customers, your office — anything."

Matt Mason was planning to deposit his pay cheque and take money out for groceries, but his bank's system wasn't working.

"Hopefully it's not going to be down for too much longer."

'Counting my cash'

Nicole Gillis had just ordered lunch when she realized the debit machine wasn't working at the restaurant where she was getting food.

"I'm just counting my cash to see what I've got."

Jean Larsen tried making a purchase at Walmart in Halifax only to find the store's debit and credit machines were down.

"I don't carry much cash," she said.

Shanna Hebert, a manager at Your Father's Moustache in downtown Halifax, said the outage put them in a cash-only situation on Friday. (CBC)

It was cash only over at Your Father's Moustache, too, in downtown Halifax.

Shanna Hebert, a manager at the restaurant, said it was a bit of shock to see everything go down before lunch, including the store's ATM.

"It's our busiest lunch of the week," she said. "It's a beautiful day and we have our patio open and it's definitely affecting the business today, unfortunately."

Cindy Samson is scheduled to fly to Calgary Friday night but right now can't get any updates to her phone. (CBC)

Cindy Samson was scheduled to fly to Calgary Friday night but was unable to get updates about her flight because she's a Telus customer and her phone wasn't working.

"Right now I can't get through to anybody," she said. "I don't realize how much I depend on my phone until something like this happens."

With files from Jerri Southcott, Joan Weeks, Paul Palmeter