Province calls on federal government to ensure telecommunications cooperation and transparency
Premier Tim Houston is calling on telecommunications companies to be more collaborative with the Emergency Management Office (NSEMO) and transparent with Nova Scotians, and on the federal government to hold them accountable to Atlantic Canadians affected by the Hurricane Fiona.
Premier Houston wrote to François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and Minister Responsible for Telecommunications, today, September 28, asking the federal government to take action and ensure that telecommunications companies are providing information about service outages following the hurricane. More than four days after the storm, many Nova Scotians still don’t have access to reliable communications, which means they can’t call 911 in an emergency.
“Nova Scotians are wondering when their service will be restored, the extent of the outages and what companies plan to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” Premier Houston said. “It is unacceptable that there are Nova Scotians who cannot call 911 or contact loved ones during this difficult time. There is no doubt that we need our telecommunications companies to mobilize and be more transparent. »
Considering the expected impacts on electricity and telecommunications, NSEMO contacted key critical infrastructure partners, including telecommunications companies, to request that they send a representative to the Provincial Coordination Center (PCC). No telecommunications company was initially willing to send a representative. It was only after complaints to senior management that Bell agreed to send a representative in person, who attended the center for two days before announcing that he would be working virtually. Eastlink, Rogers and Telus declined to appear in person at the CCP during the initial response.
Other key partners, including Nova Scotia Power, the Canadian Red Cross, the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, actively sought opportunities to communicate regularly with Nova Scotians before, during and after storm.
“Other service providers have come together to ensure Nova Scotians have the information they need, but telecommunications companies are consistently absent from the table,” Premier Houston said. « We call on the federal government, as the regulator, to ensure that telecommunications is accountable for its performance in emergencies and transparent with customers. »
- Bell is responsible for the 911 infrastructure in Atlantic Canada and the trunked mobile radio infrastructure used by all first responders in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Edward.