Telus showed up surprisingly on Thursday and fixed Watson’s telephone line. (Submitted)

Cowichan Station family upset by lengthy outage after storm knocks out home phone

With parents of 87, and 92 at home, Julie Watson is unhappy with Telus’ reaction to problem

A Cowichan Station woman was concerned that Telus does not seem to be taking her phone outage seriously.

Julie Watson said Wednesday, Jan. 2 that, although her land line on Wilson Road had been out since Dec. 20, she was told repairs would take until Jan. 8.

“We’ve been trying to get our home phone repaired since it came down in the storm, but all I can get from Telus is a technician appointment on Jan. 8 and I just didn’t know where to turn.

“A tree ripped down everything, took the wire off the pole by our house. Hydro repaired it Christmas morning, but Telus doesn’t seem concerned in the same way.

“I managed to get hold of one person, who said the outage was reported on Dec. 20 and was fixed on Dec. 23, which was not correct. I assume the bottom wires are the telephone ones and they are still unslung from the pole and the circuit box is completely exposed.”

The home situation had the potential to be dangerous, she said.

“If my sister and I have to go to work, my 87-year-old mum and 93-year-old dad have no way of calling for help. Dad’s too old and mum’s never used a cell phone. Normally we get a lot of trans-Atlantic calls over Christmas and with Dad’s birthday on Boxing Day, they’ve missed all that, too.

“Telus is acting as if it were just a random problem and not the fault of the windstorm.”

Doug Self, Telus media relations, replied Jan. 3, “Telus crews have been working around the clock at full capacity to restore service as quickly as possible to all our customers affected by the storm. Restoring functionality to telecommunications infrastructure after a major weather event like this requires highly-skilled technicians to undertake a complex, multi-step process. Before we can begin remediation, Telus must first allow power providers to ensure the area is safe, as power lines may have been downed or are hanging low. Then, power must be fully restored as the majority of telecommunications services require power to function. It’s important to note that BC Hydro has stated this storm prompted its biggest mobilization of crews, equipment and materials ever, which has caused significant logistical challenges.

“Once Telus crews are cleared to work in an area, the first step in our remediation process is to address damaged infrastructure, which includes repairing/replacing broken utility poles, hanging cable that has been downed, removing trees or other debris from hung lines, and splicing cable. For context on the scope of the splicing process alone, splicing a new cable to an existing cable involves making 144 connections on each side — 288 total connections total — and can take a considerable amount of time.

“Many customers whose services were affected will have their services restored after these major infrastructure repairs are complete. For customers who are still out of service after infrastructure is repaired, Telus will dispatch a technician to their home for further troubleshooting, to address any site-specific damage and restore services.”

Self said there are 1,100 customers on Vancouver Island the Gulf Islands still waiting for repairs. To date Telus has replaced more than 200 spans of cable, and they’ve brought in nearly two dozen technicians from across B.C. to help with the repair efforts.

They hope to have everyone up and running by Jan. 15, Self said.

“Telus thanks all our affected customers for their patience and understanding.”



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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Watson’s phone line was repaired on Thursday, Jan. 3.

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