End of TELUS Pager System Causing Rural Quebec Communities to Worry

Do you still use a pager? Some residents along remote coastline villages on Quebec’s Lower North Shore still rely on TELUS’ legacy service to contact healthcare workers and emergency first responders.

Residents received a letter from TELUS the pager system will be cancelled on March 31, 2015—and that has some people worried, since there is no cell service available as a backup.


Darlene Rowsell Roberts, an administrator for several coastline villages told CBC News once the pager system ends, volunteer firefighters and healthcare workers would have to stay home to rely on landlines, saying “Is that realistic?”

Other options available including setting up their own two-way paging networks, which would have a higher upfront cost, but lack ongoing monthly bills, says Mike Shantz, VP of emergency communications provider Northern 911.

TELUS spokeswoman Luiza Staniec told CBC News pager systems are getting obsolete, as “It’s just fewer and fewer people are using this system, so it’s reached the end of its service life.” The company is working with existing customers to switch to other pager providers and noted cell coverage expansion continues to be in the works.

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  • Jay

    Wait… people are still using these?!?!

  • DrDca

    I still use one for when I’m in areas that don’t have cell coverage — Golden Ears Provincial Park, for example.

  • DrDca

    Pagers also have the advantage that they don’t generate a signal, so they can be used in areas where signal generation might cause problems — electronics labs, for example, or certain medical labs. I spoke with Telus when this news first came out, and the bottom line is that there aren’t enough pager users to cover the cost of keeping the equipment running. Since Telus is in business to make money, the service goes (it will also provide some more spectrum for them use in other services). I understand, but it is presenting a problem for lots of people!

  • Quack

    That’s what you get for living in rural Quackbec. Maybe if they spoke a language other than Québécois Creole, and lowered their screwed up language policing standards, more companies would be inclined to do business there. Quack.

  • Shorty_dammit

    How much electricity can the system really use?

  • DrDca

    I doubt it’s the electricity consumption at issue – the hardware has to be maintained, broken parts repaired/replaced, antennas tuned, etc.

  • Shorty_dammit

    You actually think there’s a lot of maintenance involved in electronic equipment?

  • DrDca

    Let me put it this way – a friend of mine works for Telus – he has a full-time job – 40 hrs a week — doing nothing but maintenance on equipment. He’s one of several dozen in the lower mainland. You do the math.

  • Shorty_dammit

    Ask him how much of that time is spent on paging equipment. (Providing, of course, that any of that stuff still exists here.)

  • DrDca

    He says not a lot, but that’s because they’re told just to keep it running, not upgrade or replace. Apparently the equipment is quite old and, in his words, “fragile”. 🙂

  • Shorty_dammit

    I’d be surprised if it really was a cost thing, that’s all I’m saying. 🙂 Your friend’s “not a lot” kind of bolsters that feeling. I guess some cost is still more than no cost, though.

  • DrDca

    Well, as I said — dollars out vs dollars in == keep it/shut it down!

  • Some Dude Named Lee

    Um…get a sat phone people.

  • Anon

    Yeah, a bunch of old farts complaining.