"I Expect Much More Of Bell": Communications Advocacy Group Spokesperson Meghan Sali

Posted on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 17:26 PM

A Canadian non partisan advocacy group is criticizing Bell Aliant in the wake of a massive outage last Friday affecting all four Atlantic provinces.

Open Media Communications Manager Meghan Sali says there should be redundant systems in place to prevent the loss of vital services to customers.

She adds the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) responsible for oversight and regulation should look into this.

"And at the very least should be collecting information about these outages, how often they happen, where they happen?" says Sali. "I think that it would be extremely useful to even have one unified place where people can look if they suspect there is an internet outage."

She says Bell dropped the ball on explaining the issue to their customers.

"We're not just talking about people being unable to watch Netflix for a couple of hours," says Sali. "We're talking about access to essential services, and we're talking about things that really have huge impacts on everything people are doing on their lives."

She provided examples like flight checkins, accessing financial details, and reaching emergency services.

Sali also criticized Bell's inability to communicate clearly with customers during the outage.

"So I expect much more of Bell moving forward," says Sali. "And I certainly expect for them to come out in the following days and provide a clear explanation of what happened, and what their plan is to prevent these sort of things in the future, especially given that they affected such a broad swathe of Canadians."

Sali says with private companies controlling internet and phone access, they need to ensure redundancies are in place to prevent this from happening again.

Meanwhile, in an emailed statement Bell Aliant confirms they are investigating how two major fibre links in two separate locations were damaged by third party construction work.

The cuts happened in Drummondville, Quebec, and Richibucto, New Brunswick last Friday leaving customers in all four Atlantic Provinces with varying degrees of service.

Spokesperson Mark Duggan says under extraordinary circumstances, teams repaired the affected infrastructure and had services fully back online in four hours.