Landslides created by B.C. storm lead to phone service outages across province

Click to play video: 'Flooding causes issues across B.C. South Coast'
Flooding causes issues across B.C. South Coast
Several communities across Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley are under flood watch and are seeing impacts of heavy rains that fell non-stop overnight. – Feb 1, 2020

Days of rain and winds to B.C.’s South Coast may have knocked out phone service for multiple providers across some or all of B.C. — with one carrier blaming a landslide.

Heavy rains that fell non-stop between Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning brought mud and debris down on several major roads across the South Coast, including on Vancouver Island.

That, combined with the high winds, has caused trees and hydro poles to come down across the region, knocking out power to thousands of customers.

But multiple customers also say they have lost phone service as well, with even police agencies saying their non-emergency lines are experiencing limited service.

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E-Comm 911, which oversees dispatch centres across the province, warned Bell customers calling 911 to use a landline or other service provider due to a “B.C.-wide Bell cellular outage,” but added 911 was not having an issue taking calls.

The cell provider confirmed on social media that it was experiencing a disruption to its LTE and HSPA service, resulting in dropped calls and trouble placing and receiving calls.

On Sunday, Bell said the issue was due to a damaged fibre cable near North Bend outside Boston Bar.

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North Vancouver RCMP and Nanaimo RCMP confirmed they were also experiencing issues with their non-emergency lines “due to weather.”

While they said 911 wasn’t impacted, they said calls to non-emergency cannot be forwarded to dispatch.

“Until this issue is corrected, please refrain from calling in non-urgent issues,” Nanaimo RCMP said in a statement.

Click to play video: 'Hundreds trapped at B.C. ski resort after landslide shuts down road'
Hundreds trapped at B.C. ski resort after landslide shuts down road

BC Hydro said it was possible that Telus lines were taken down, as they share utility poles. However, Telus told Global News they weren’t experiencing any issues.

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The weather also brought multiple landslides down on highways across the South Coast, including Highway 1 near Boston Bar, the Malahat on Vancouver Island and Highway 12 near Lillooet.

Another slide washed out Hemlock Valley Road to Sasquatch Mountain Resort near Agassiz, which the Ministry of Transportation says could take five to six days to repair.

A spokesperson for Rogers said one of those landslides knocked out service “briefly,” but that it had since been resolved.

However, several customers told Global News they were still experiencing issues with the provider, along with others including Virgin and Freedom Mobile.

DriveBC sent out a tweet at 7:45 p.m. to say they were having problems connecting with their contractors around the province, and said as a result their information may not be as accurate as normal.

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No estimated times have been given by any providers for when service might be restored.

By Sunday, the issues appeared to have been largely resolved, but some customers were still experiencing problems across the province.


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