Atlantic Canada authorities called on Amateur Radio operators in parts of Nova Scotia on August 4, in the wake of a telephone service outage. According to CBC, Bell Aliant landline and cell services were down, starting at approximately 11:20 AM. Telus, Virgin, and Koodo users were also affected. Jeremy Fowler, VE1JHF, a member of the Halifax Amateur Radio Club, said he and other members of his group were put on standby to help the municipality cope with any communication problems.
“[A] bunch of us pulled out our gear and were on the air, ready to go, cars loaded up,” he told CBC. “At that point, everything was kind of coming online, so they told us to stand down.”
Martin Swinimer, VE1KLR, expressed surprise that emergency services didn’t try to contact him to assist with communications. He and Chris Vessey VY2CRV, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, said they were on stand-by as well.
Vessey told CBC that the phone outage might serve as a wake-up call, and he’d like the public be better educated on how ham radio works, in the event of another phone outage or emergency situation. The outage was blamed on damage to two optical fiber lines, and even emergency responders across the region experienced some disruption in connectivity.