Bell, Rogers, Telus Outages Due to Ice Storm Being ‘Monitored’, Says Minister [Update]

ice drop pixabay

Image by M. Maggs from Pixabay

An ice storm hit Ontario and Quebec yesterday, knocking out power to over a million residents. Freezing rain knocked out branches and cut power to numerous Hydro Ottawa, Hydro Quebec and Hydro One customers, while also taking down internet and cellphone for some Bell and Rogers customers.

Rogers says Ottawa and the surrounding areas and parts of Quebec may not have TV, internet, home phone or wireless services right now.

“Our wireless customers remain connected, however, some may notice a degradation of service with fewer available sites due to power outages,” says Rogers.

“Wireless towers are powered by hydro and default to generators or battery back-up during a power outage. In addition, there is overlapping and extended coverage in the impacted areas. We are working closely with local hydros to restore full power to cell tower sites as soon as it’s safe to do,” explained the company.

Rogers says their retail stores in the region are open for customers needing to charge their devices or get warm with coffee or tea.

Bell said “some customers in the affected areas may have difficulty reaching 9-1-1 due to local landline outages caused by the storm. Customers who need to access 9-1-1 should attempt to do so with their wireless device as wireless service impacts vary within each region.”

“Many Ontario and Québec regions are experiencing a power outage which is impacting the Bell network. During this time, Bell wireless and wireline voice services may not be accessible in the impacted areas,” says Bell.

Telus is also dealing with outages in eastern Ontario and Quebec as well. “Although our sites are being powered by generators, network congestion may be present in some areas as households are switching to the wireless network for connectivity,” said the company.

With these outages affecting 911 services, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, announced he was “monitoring the situation closely.” It’s unclear what this means, aside from letting people know he’s aware of the ice storm and outages.

“Many customers across QC and ON are experiencing disruptions to home internet or cell phone service. As stipulated by the agreement they entered in Sept, telcos are collaborating to ensure a minimal impact on services, especially the 911,” said Champagne.

Last fall, the minister met with the ‘Big 3’ to discuss outages due to Hurricane Fiona, while the telcos also signed a network safety plan in wake of the massive Rogers nationwide outage last summer.