Another instance of a broken cable left our town without telephone and 911 services for over 6 hours on Friday.
We’re used to this, and despite paying full price for our service, many don’t complain. For one, it is tiresome for an individual to even try to talk to a company like this, and for another, the phones don’t work. Also, one can understand that when the phones come back on, the average person has better things to do.
The telephone company is allowed to charge a high price for service in return for covering the less profitable areas as well as the high profit cities. Another part of telecommunications law makes it mandatory for the companies to file quarterly quality of service reports with the CRTC. In those reports you will find “quality of service” treated in terms of how fast they respond to those who call in a complaint, among other things. In other words, it is not reflected in those reports when all of Coalmont is off-line. Because of this quirk, our ongoing problem is therefore not known to the telecommunications authorities. The fact that a whole little town did not have telephone nor 911 service for half a day, will not be reported to the CRTC in the Telus quarterly quality of service report. We are invisible.
There are a number of interesting facts to our case. Check out the Telus on-line report. There is an entry for Tulameen, but not one for Coalmont. That would not be a problem if we were part of Tulameen for this purpose. But we’re not. In the cable which is always breaking, there are a number of pairs which are used for various purposes. Each pair (in this case called a T1) can carry multiple conversations at once. There is one pair for Tulameen and one for Coalmont. We are completely separate. If their pair breaks, we can still have service here. In this latest case, our pair was one of the broken ones. Tulameen was apparently quickly restored, but Coalmont continued to have an outage for most of the day. However, according to the Telus on-line home services outages report there was no disruption in this area. Since we are not part of any other area, and there is no listing for us, this is as expected.
One might think that we should get some kind of discount when we can’t use the service – especially so when it is down on Valentine’s Day. Indeed, if a subscriber is on the record as having made a complaint, then they can later claim a reduction on their bill if their service was not provided, or not restored in a timely manner. Of course, most of Coalmont will not qualify, because they didn’t personally call in the complaint.
It is important to note, that since we are all using the same “pair” within the cable, if one person is disconnected, then we all are. The statement Telus has given us in the past, that “only a few subscribers were effected” is then provably wrong. Of course, we don’t pay them to be honest. We pay them to provide telephone service. Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that they don’t seem to excel at either. §