NS: Telcos will need to be prepared for storms

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is proposing legislation that would force telecommunications companies to better prepare for weather events like post-tropical storm Fiona, or face hefty fines.

Changes to the Emergency Management Act and the 911 Act would require telephone companies to take every precaution possible to maintain service during a major storm or other emergency.

They will also be required to develop an annual emergency response plan and reimburse customers in the event of loss of service.

The bill would also require company representatives to be physically present at the province’s emergency response center during storms.

Failure to comply with the changes could result in daily fines of up to $250,000 if a company is found guilty under the law.

John Lohr, minister responsible for the province’s Office of Emergency Management, said the widespread outages of cellphones and telephones during Fiona’s passage demonstrated a clear need for telecommunications companies to improve their disaster preparedness.

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