Thunder Bay

Tbaytel deploys new software to keep technicians out of homes

Most people during the COVID-19 pandemic will not let their family into their home for a quick visit, never mind a complete stranger.

Tbaytel says voice traffic up, data usage down on mobile network

Tbaytel says it is deploying new software to keep its technicians out of homes, if possible. The telecommunications company says its internet traffic is up by 15 per cent, and voice traffic is up by 60 per cent.

Most people during the COVID-19 pandemic will not let their family into their home for a quick visit, never mind a complete stranger.

Service technicians, however, be it for your furnace, internet or perhaps a trades person like a plumber would be the exception.

Tbaytel, a telecommunications company based in Thunder Bay, Ont., said it's employees are doing their best to stay out of homes, if possible.

 "We're deploying software to aid the customer in terms of performing the functions that our technicians would typically provide for them," said John Barch, Tbaytel's vice-president of operations.

"So we can walk a customer through over the phone when it comes to you know, simple installation services of repairs." 

Barch said in some cases, the technician must enter a home for installing equipment, or for diagnostics that cannot be completed over the phone. 

In those cases, customers are asked a series of questions on their travel history, if any family members are ill, and if the person has come in contact of any cases, or suspected cases of COVID-19.

He said Tbaytel is seeing fewer calls for repairs, although many customers are changing their services.

Technicians may visit several homes in a day, Barch said, so the precautions taken by the company are not only to protect staff, but also customers as well.

"Thus far, our customers have been very understanding of protecting their safety, as well as our employees."

"We're trying to minimize the number of times that we enter a home, if at all possible."

Internet traffic, talk time increase

Barch said Tbaytel has seen peak internet usage increased by 15 per cent, with the traffic lasting all day, instead of just around the dinnertime.

Data usage on mobile networks has gone down, he said, with voice traffic increasing by 60 per cent.

Barch said during the first two weeks of the provincial state of emergency, calls to Tbaytel were higher than normal, but have since gone to a more normal level.

About the Author

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.