Phone service cut when underground cable severed

  • Aug. 12, 2009 1:00 p.m.

Seventeen homes along Highway 16 north of Port Clements were left with no phone service for three days after an underground Telus cable was severed Friday afternoon (Aug. 7). Telus spokesperson Shawn Hall said it appears the line was cut by someone who was trenching along the highway near the corner of Ryland Road. A special Telus engineering crew was at the site Monday to excavate the site and replace the cable, and service was restored just after 6 pm. Some residents who called the Telus repair line said they had been told they wouldn’t have phone service until Aug. 20, but Mr. Hall said in cases like this, Telus departs from its normal repair schedule. “We know how important phone service is and we are going to restore it as quickly as we can,” he said. Julia Brobbel said some of the residents affected were quite concerned about being cut off from emergency services like fire, police and ambulance. There’s no cell service in that part of the islands, something that the Telus employee she spoke to didn’t seem to understand. “It was funny because Telus said, well, you can just use your cell phone,” she said. “Everybody assumes in this day and age that everyone has a cell phone and wireless.” Mr. Hall said Telus tries to put its cables underground wherever it can rather than in the air, because aerial cables can be disrupted much more easily. This incident illustrates the importance of calling Telus before digging or excavating, he said. The company will be investigating what caused the cable cut, he said, with the goal of making sure it doesn’t happen again. The person who did it may get billed for the cost of restoring service, depending on what the investigation reveals, he said.