Florence phone lines finally fixed

The Florence library at the Community Centre was one of the. places without landline phone service since before Christmas.

Dawn-Euphemia Mayor Al Broad says the landlines around Florence are finally working again.

Up to 45 people were without landline service since before Christmas in and around the Dawn-Euphemia community. Some people voiced concern that people with Lifeline Medical Alert services need a land line. Many had been given several dates when the issue would be repaired but each deadline came and went without the problem being resolved.

Residents of the hamlet started sharing their stories on social media about the problems and then local politicians started asking question.

Mayor Al Broad launched a complaint with the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission about the issue on Thursday. Under the Telecommunications Act, the CRTC must ensure people in both urban and rural areas ” have both reliable and affordable telecommunications services.”

“Clearly, the CRTC are the ones that have the most power and hopefully, if we lodge enough complaints through the CRTC, that they will force Bell Canada’s hand to figure this out and get back to us on a plan,” he said early Friday morning.

In an email, Vanessa Damah, Senior Manager of Media Relations for Bell, said “an equipment problem in the Florence community had been causing intermittent landline outages for approximately 45 customers in the area. Please note that the issue has been resolved and full services have been restored.”

Broad disputed Bell’s claim saying service at the community centre – which houses the local library – was still intermittent late in the afternoon.

Broad’s complaint to the CRTC and the local media coverage of the outage were enough to garner a call from a Bell senior manager and by the end of the business day the lines were restored.

Broad says during his conversation with the Bell manager he said the company needed to be more responsive, working with municipalities to solve shortages.

Bell has faced criticism before for long outages. In May, residents around Winnipeg went for months without service. The issue was only resolved when the CRTC stepped in.