Lack of ‘essential service’ decried as landline woes continue
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/09/2022 (258 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The weeks-long loss of their landline has not only hurt their business, a Winnipeg couple says, it has put them in danger.
Jim, who didn’t want his last name used, said his wife is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and the malfunctioning phone means he can’t call to check on her when he’s out.
“It just goes click, click, click when you pick up the phone. We don’t have the essential service Bell MTS is supposed to provide… It has put us in a medical crisis,” he said Friday.
“I can’t call her. I can’t call support groups. I can’t (internet search) how to cook things — she did all the cooking for years and I’m trying to learn to cook. And, with our home-based business, I can’t call clients or know when clients are trying to call us.”
Bell MTS has been on the hot seat with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission because of the number of customers in Winnipeg who have complained they have been without landline services for days, weeks, and even months.
The number of potential repairs was so high the CRTC stepped in, ordering Bell MTS to submit monthly reports for five months, detailing how many still needed to be done and what it was doing to catch up.
The telecom has said the problems are mainly due to the high amount of precipitation the city received in the spring and early summer, as well as the state of the infrastructure left by previous owners of the company. (Parent company BCE Inc. took control in 2017.)
Jim said his phone service first went out Aug. 17, and a repairman told him it affected so many people in the area the company had to bring in 10 linemen from Ontario to assist.
“On (Aug. 26), it came back on again, but four days later, it went out again and I’ve been phoning (for service) every day since,” he said. “Bell MTS says, every day, it will be fixed by the end of the day and it never is.”
Bell MTS spokeswoman Morgan Shipley said the Winnipeg couple were one of almost 100 customers impacted when a cable was damaged in “multiple locations” near St. Mary’s Road on Aug. 17.
Shipley said the outage affected landline telephones, as well as internet and TV services.
“Full service restoration required a complicated cable repair and all Bell MTS services impacted by the damage were restored by Aug. 23,” she said.
“Later in August, we were notified of new service disruption on (the road the couple lives on) associated with the original cable damage earlier in the month and identified that further cable work was required.”
Shipley said the company expected to have a cable technician out Friday to reconnect the service as quickly as possible.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.