Canadian Cell Phone Service Crashes

Today was not a great day for Canadians who rely on cell phones; to put it in a nutshell – service crashed from coast to coast this afternoon. Major carriers like Rogers and Fido seemed to take the brunt of this disruption; officially, Rogers said it was due to “technical difficulties”. Customers in Ontario and Quebec were first to loose service late this afternoon – the problem quickly spread nationwide. Rogers issued the following statement…..

“Rogers is experiencing a wireless outage affecting voice and some SMS services across the country. Data services are not affected.

We are investigating the root cause and services are gradually resuming. At this time we do not have an estimate as to when full service will be restored. We sincerely apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.

We are still experiencing service interruptions in some areas and we encourage customers to use a wireline telephone if they need to reach emergency services.”

Naturally the first thought in my mind was “solar activity”. The X1.7 flare on May 12, 2013 resulted in an hour long black out of high frequency radio signals. Being a space weather enthusiast I knew a CME (coronal mass ejection) had hit on Oct. 8 causing geo-magnetic storms, with a second impact expected on Oct. 9. Perhaps a leap by association yet a ponder just the same.

Regardless of the source for today’s “technical difficulties”, it should serve as a wake up for implications of extended communication problems. I couldn’t believe all the “knickers in a twist” over a few hours without phone service. It was the lead story on just about every evening news program, facebook went ballistic with desperate pleas for any information re restoration of service. I’m certain dramatic meltdowns erupted from coast to coast as panic set in.

Ponder what this says about society in general; how on earth could we cope with a major situation? Meanwhile, a poll by a local news station revealed 78% of Vancouver residents had not prepared emergency supplies in any way, shape or form for the predicted “big one” ¬†on B.C.’s west coast. Many respondents weren’t even aware of the long overdue earthquake. I shudder to think how we might handle a truly grave situation. Yikes.