Northwestel glitch leads to pan-northern telcom outage
Company still working to restore service as of Sept. 20
Iqaluit residents suffered another reminder of their satellite telecommunications system’s extreme vulnerability Sept. 20, when a power failure in Whitehorse knocked out internet, cell phone and landline services to many Northwestel customers across the three territories and northern British Columbia.
In Iqaluit, Northwestel’s DSL internet service went down just before 7:00 a.m. eastern time on Sept. 20 and wasn’t restored until just before noon.
As of 3:30 p.m. Sept. 20, Bell Mobility cell phone service in Iqaluit, which Northwestel operates for Bell under a contract, was still down.
The outage also affected cable internet and landline customers in Yukon and the Northwest Territories, as well as subscribers to the company’s Latitude cell service.
“Phonelines are at 80 percent restoral and Cable Internet 50 percent restoral in #yxy. [Whitehorse] DSL in the Eastern Arctic and Yukon are still affected,” the company said in a tweet posted at 2:45 p.m. eastern time.
CBC North reported that the problem arose when winds blew a tree onto power lines near a Yukon Energy substation near Whitehorse late on Sept. 19.
Northwestel technicians are still working to restore full services. The company has not yet issued a statement explaining the cause of the outage.