Inverness County not satisfied with response from Bell Canada

PORT HOOD: After getting an unacceptable response, municipal council is demanding that Bell Canada reply to their concerns.

During the regular monthly meeting of Inverness Municipal Council in Port Hood on April 1, Warden Laurie Cranton said the municipality is sending a second letter to Bell.

Council decided to send the first letter to the company in February about the failure of backup landline phone systems during power outages in parts of Inverness County.

Bell responded that landline systems in larger centres have back-up batteries and standby generators. The company also noted that sites are “verified” each year to ensure that old equipment is functioning properly. Bell did confirm plans for fibre expansion in Inverness County, which was unacceptable to council.

“The only communication the municipality has received from Bell Canada in response to the February 4, 2021 letter was a phone call from the Bell Aliant representative in Halifax, and brief follow-up email from that representative,” the letter reads. “When a power outage occurs in Inverness County, the Bell landline staff service is lost. The above noted response provided by the Bell Aliant representative does not acknowledge this fact. Further, the response does not confirm whether Bell intends to investigate the issue and how Bell plans to remedy the issue. The loss of landline service during outages causes a significant danger to residents, especially seniors, who do not have cellular phone service and rely solely on landlines to access emergency services.”

In the letter, which was addressed to Gordon Nixon, chair of the board of directors of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada, Cranton said the municipality is demanding a written response from Bell within 15 days of receiving the letter.

“Otherwise, the council will escalate this complaint to an appropriate regulatory body in order to ensure this is addressed in a timely manner,” Cranton said reading from the letter.

While they await Bell’s response, the warden recommended councillors and staff collect the names of people impacted by the loss of phone service, across all municipal districts.

“I would ask that you speak to the person that contacted you and make sure they’re comfortable in having their name go forward,” he added.