Telecom association shares internet and cellphone preparation tips ahead of storm season

The Canadian Telecommunications Association (CTA) has launched an awareness campaign, sharing the best practices for preparing for potential power and network outages ahead of storm season, especially as Atlantic Canadians gear up for extreme weather this weekend.

“Extreme weather events such as hurricanes, wildfires, and snow and ice storms are becoming more commonplace, endangering Canadians and damaging property,” said CTA president and chief executive officer, Robert Ghiz. “While telecommunications providers are continually investing to strengthen their networks to better withstand these types of events, power supply, poles, cables, and other equipment can still be impacted, sometimes affecting network performance or even causing temporary service outages. That is why we are recommending that individuals take the necessary precautions that can help them stay connected when it matters most.”

The campaign includes steps to follow before a storm hits, during the storm and in its aftermath.

Before a storm, the association recommends that individuals monitor the weather, get ready for emergency alerts, charge their devices, and have a backup power supply to power essential communications equipment like an internet modem, Wi-Fi router, and cordless phone.

During the storm and in the immediate aftermath, users are advised to preserve device battery power by reducing screen brightness, and turning off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and location-based services when not needed. Also, avoid using mobile wireless networks for data-intensive and non-emergency related internet uses like streaming videos.

Additionally, the association recommends that users text or email to connect with others and avoid making phone calls (unless necessary), in order to avoid network congestion, and to keep phone calls as short as possible. 

Further, if a call is not connected, wait at least 10 seconds before redialing. The same applies to 9-1-1 calls, given they may take longer to connect due to increased network congestion following an emergency. If users are still unable to successfully place a 9-1-1 call, they can try to remove or turn off their device’s SIM card, as in rare circumstances, the presence of the SIM card may prevent a device from connecting to an alternative service provider’s network.

The CTA explained, “Mobile phone service is designed for 9-1-1 calls to default to whatever wireless network is available, so calling 9-1-1 on your mobile phone may still be possible even if your service provider does not have an operational cell tower nearby or your phone does not have a SIM card.”

Moreover, when calling 911 service, the CTA recommends that individuals use their landline phone to help reduce traffic on mobile networks.

The awareness campaign will include print and online ads running across the Atlantic provinces over the next four weeks, as well as the launch of a new website dedicated to sharing best practices.

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Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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