Bell Aliant’s 911 landline outage on the East Coast came from 10-digit dialling change

Minister Champagne called the outage "unacceptable"

Bell Aliant says a software update caused landline users in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I being unable to reach 911.

The issue lasted between 6am and 8:30am, local time. A “fall-back mechanism” in the telecom provider’s system meant the outage didn’t impact wireless devices, Katie Hatfield, a senior communications manager at Bell, told MobileSyrup.

“The root cause was a software update introduced at approximately 6:00am in preparation for 10-digit dialling for New Brunswick, which triggered unexpected call processing failures to 911,” Hatfield said.

The outage caused Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne to tweet his disappointment, calling it “unacceptable.”

“As I have said before, Canadians expect and deserve reliable telecoms connection to access emergency services at all times,” Champagne wrote.

It’s unclear if the Minister will take any action against Bell.

“We have been in touch with them and are following the situation closely,” Laurie Bouchard, a spokesperson from the Minister’s office, told MobileSyrup

Updated 31/01/2023 4:46pmET: The article has been updated with a response from the Minister’s office.

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