TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Newfoundland Pondering Last Week's Telephone Exchange Fire

Newfoundland Pondering Last Week's Telephone Exchange Fire

Canadian Press (
Thu, 26 Oct 2006 13:50:55 -0500

Newfoundland pondering second line to Nova Scotia in wake of phone outage

Canadian Press

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. (CP) - Newfoundland is considering the construction of
a second fibre-optic link to Nova Scotia to prevent phone and 911
services from shutting down as they did last week.

Premier Danny Williams says the province is scrutinizing the proposal
by Rogers Communications, MTS Allstream Inc. and Persona
Communications Inc.

Williams says a fire at a Bell Aliant switching station last Friday
underscores the need for an alternative connection.

"It could have been much worse," Williams said Thursday.

A six-week-old child stopped breathing for several minutes during the
outage, and had to be driven to a nearby hospital for help after calls
to 911 failed.

"That alone is a significant, serious situation," Williams
said. "There could've been a loss of life, so any time you're talking
safety and life loss, that's obviously paramount."

An estimated 100,000 customers in the St. John's area were left
without telephone and 911 services for five hours after a small
electrical fire.

Internet access for all of Newfoundland was also wiped out.

Police have said it appeared no major emergencies were missed during
the outage.

A spokeswoman for Bell Aliant said the station's main power supply and
a backup were shut down to prevent the electrical fire from
spreading. A technician extinguished the blaze with a fire

The company is investigating what happened to determine whether
changes are needed to its system.

Copyright The Canadian Press 2006
Copyright 2006 CanWest Interactive

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