Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay police set up 911 email amid Canada-wide cellular outage

Thunder Bay, Ont., police have set up a temporary 911 email to help people without landlines reach emergency services as a Rogers Canada-wide cellular network outage continues.

Tbaytel among carriers affected by network outage on Friday

Tbaytel is experiencing outages on Friday morning as part of a national mobile and internet outage from Canadian telecommunications giant Rogers. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

Latest

  • Rogers outage is affecting Tbaytel mobility customers in Thunder Bay
  • Tbaytel says its local team is working with Rogers to restore services as quickly as possible
  • Thunder Bay police say no issues phoning from a landline

Thunder Bay, Ont., police have set up a temporary 911 email to help people without landlines reach emergency services as a Rogers Canada-wide cellular network outage continues.

Tbaytel customers are among those affected by Friday's outage.

The outage hit the Rogers network early Friday morning, and service had not been restored as of 2 p.m. ET. 

Tbaytel and Rogers have a business agreement, with Tbaytel making use of the provider's network for mobility calls; no other Tbaytel services were affected by the outage.In a media release Friday afternoon, Thunder Bay police said the temporary 911 email was created for residents who do not have landlines, but do have internet access. The service had earlier said its 911 call centre was still able to receive landline calls.

"Be advised that this email address has limitations and is not a guarantee that your email will get through our secure firewall, but is a best effort during this difficult time," the police service stated. "This method could provide a way for Police, FIRE and/or EMS to respond to a life-threatening emergency."

Police said the email address — 911tbps@thunderbaypolice.ca — will be deactivated once cellular service is restored.

How long it will be before that occurs, however, remains unknown.

"We are aware of issues currently affecting our networks, and our teams are fully engaged to resolve the issue as soon as possible," Rogers tweeted Friday morning. "We will continue to keep you updated as we have more information to share."

Tbaytel says its local team is working with national carriers to restore services as quickly as possible. 

In an update posted to Facebook on Friday morning, Tbaytel confirmed the mobile outage and stated it is "working with national carriers to restore services as quickly as possible."

  • WATCH | How the Rogers outage is affecting people across Canada 

Nationwide Rogers outage impacting internet, cellphones and debit payments

3 months ago
Duration 7:48
Rogers is experiencing a massive outage that is impacting wireless, cable and internet customers across Canada. To read more: https://www.cbc.ca/1.6514373

Fort William First Nation's emergency response team says 911 service may be disrupted and is asking people to call with a landline if they are in an emergency. If the landline doesn't work, people should keep trying with other cellphones.

Thunder Bay police said the national cellphone outage has not affected its ability to receive 911 calls from a landline. 

Debit machines in local businesses have been reported to be down as well, which has been happening across the country. 

One affected business is Thunder Bay's Cheese Encounter on Algoma Street. It has been unable to process debit transactions since the outage began.

"I guess it really speaks to the reliance on big, giant conglomerates, and that they do not work immaculately at all times," owner Matt Wilkins told CBC News. "It's not really that unrealistic that their services would fail sometimes."

A spokesperson for debit provider Interac told CBC News on Friday that several of its services were unavailable due to the outage.

"Debit is currently unavailable online and at checkout,' the spokesperson said. "Interac e-transfer is also widely unavailable, impacting the ability to send and receive payments."

This is the second time in as many years that Tbaytel has been hit by a major outage on the Rogers network. Wireless and cable networks went down in a similar fashion in April 2021, and Rogers blamed an issue with a software update at one of its telecom equipment suppliers.

A Tbaytel spokesperson told CBC News on Friday that the outage was affecting the Rogers core network.

Core networks are one of two main components to mobility networks: the other is a radio access network.

"Tbaytel owns and operates its own radio access network (RAN), which includes all mobility tower sites across northwestern Ontario," the spokesperson said. "The towers have radio antennas attached to them that transmit to a customer's phone.

"Tbaytel leverages the Rogers core network to provide data and voice connectivity. The mobility core network is composed of a mix of hardware and software technologies that enable mobility feature functionality, and routes both data and voice traffic to the correct destination."

Rogers has not provided an estimated timeline for when the outage will be resolved. 

A sign posted outside a Thunder Bay coffee shop on Friday tells customers they can't use debit cards to make purchases due to a mobile and internet outage. The outage hit Rogers networks earlier in the day and is affecting Tbaytel cellular customers. (Matt Fratpietro/CBC)

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