A screenshot from Barriere & Area Chamber of Commerce’s page on Facebook shows the advisory of a major outage from Telus that caused some confusion recently. (Star/Journal screenshot)

Major telephone service interruption did not happen

By Keith McNeill

There was quite a bit of discussion recently by Barriere and area residents on social media about an advisory from Telus regarding a major telephone service interruption that was to happen on March 4.

The interruption did not happen and there was some speculation that the media release was supposed to have read that it would be on April 3 (the third day of the fourth month rather than the fourth day of the third month) instead.

The post came out on March 4 an appeared to show that the outage would be that day – but there was no outage. That led to speculation that it might actually be for April 3 as the as the Start and End Times were coded in reverse order from that stated (not YYY-MM-DD but DD-MM-YYYY).

It potentially could have been a serious situation as the release said all local and long-distance calls in the local (672-) exchange, including 911 and cellular, could be out for an estimated 900 minutes or 15 hours. There were also questions about why local governments apparently were not informed about the proposed closure.

“The work did take place on March 4 and is complete, and it did not cause the level of disruption we originally anticipated, which is positive,” a Telus spokesperson told the Star/Journal.

The spokesperson said the work needed to be completed following a landslide. Telus crews relocated network equipment serving the area and about 15 customers to a more geographically stable site. “Following our standard process, local government and emergency services were notified in advance of the work taking place,” the spokesperson said.

Many area residents first learned about the announced interruption after seeing the notice posted on Barriere Chamber of Commerce’s page on Facebook.

The Chamber had apparently copied it from Simpcw First Nation’s page.

District of Barriere deputy corporate officer Tasha Buchanan said she spent quite a bit of time on the telephone with Telus, trying to get the advisory clarified.

The district has notified Telus of its concerns, she said.

“We think it’s a learning opportunity,” Buchanan said. “We hope we can work better with Telus going forward.”

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