Orangeville – Third World Telephone Service

rotary phoneI have to admit I don’t know all the details of how such a thing could happen, but twice now in the past two weeks, parts of Orangeville have been without both land line telephone and internet service.

The first recent occasion was on November 26th, 2014. I had awoken early at 5:30AM to get some work done on a client’s email server when I discovered I had no internet. My own network was fine, so I decided to call my service provider, Wightman Telecom. But alas, my office telephone had no dial tone! I couldn’t make any outgoing calls, nor receive incoming ones.

I managed to get through using my cell phone and was advised that Wightman was aware of the situation and were looking into it. A little while later, I learned that the problem was because of a circuit on the Roger’s Communications network which parts of are shared.

This particular circuit carries both internet and telephone traffic. The fact that different providers will share lines and equipment is not a surprise – even Bell Telephone shares parts of their infrastructure to others (whether there is a fee involved, I have no idea).

What was surprising to me though was that a critical service like land line telephone was so easily affected for a period of at least several hours. At first, I thought it was probably an isolated event, however once again, on December 12th at about 12:30AM, noticing my internet was down, discovered that I again had no telephone service.

A quick call to Wightman was made and I learned that they had identified a Rogers circuit (once again) responsible for no telephone and internet traffic. Work was being done to investigate further to find out the problem and have it corrected. At 3:00AM, I was advised that the estimated time of service restoration was 6AM.

In fairness, the service was restored at about 3:30AM (at least to me; I don’t know about other customers), but I was also told that it was caused by Rogers doing maintenance work. They apparently had selected the night time to do this work when it was less busy.

There are some issues with this though, assuming this account is correct:

1. Why did not Rogers advise anyone that was sharing that circuit of planned maintenance, in advance?

2. How on earth can Rogers account for taking out landline phone service, even if it was in the middle of the night? Surely they should have planned ahead so that somehow, phone service would not be affected.

While cell phones appear to be ubiquitous, not everyone has a cell phone. Indeed many elderly people -those who might be prone to a medical emergency in the middle of the night, do not own cell phones. Someone in distress who then attempts to call for help on their land line telephone would likely become even more distressed at discovering they could not make a phone call. What are they going to do?

I’ve lived with telephone service for all of my life, and I cannot ever remember, even as a child, being without telephone service for hours upon hours when we still used old rotary dial phones. Technology is great, but it’s pretty useless when there is an emergency and maintenance work has not been well thought out, which could possibly seriously affect somoene’s very life.

Come on Rogers, you can do much better than this, in this day and age, surely!

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