Interrupted Bell fiber optic line disrupts telecommunications

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Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism InitiativeBell Canada expects various telecommunications services south of North Bay to be operational again late this afternoon.

Services were halted on Tuesday after a fiber optic line was cut following ongoing road construction work along Highway 94, corporate communications manager Nathan Gibson said in a statement. .

The disruption affected telecommunications in several surrounding communities.

Gibson said Powassan and Trout Creek lost their internet services while in Port Loring and Restoule customers were deprived of some fixed and wireless services.

He said customers in both areas could be affected to varying degrees in terms of internet and wireless services and some wireless services have been restored.

Gibson said the damage to the optical fiber was significant.

He has not yet been able to say how many customers the disruption has affected.

One person affected by the disruption was Julie Anne Lavigne of Powassan.

The Nugget reached Lavigne, who said most Bell customer service representatives knew little about the disruption on Tuesday.

Lavigne said that on four occasions she had called for updates, only one CSR was able to tell her services were cut off around 5 a.m. on Tuesday.

“This person told me that the incident was first reported at 5 am,” Lavigne said.

She said the others called the case an isolated incident.

Lavigne said what was frustrating about the incident was that Bell did not notify local media of the problem when the fiber optic line was cut.

She says residents were left in the dark about what happened and when services could be expected.

“It just wasn’t communicated to us,” Lavigne said.

The disruption has also affected the way businesses deliver their services.

For example, Clement’s IDA in Powassan posted on his Facebook page that because the internet is down, he cannot fill prescriptions or perform credit or debit card transactions.

IDA is asking residents of the area to collect their prescriptions later in the week.

Rocco Frangione is a journalist for the Local Journalism Initiative working in the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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