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UPDATE: ‘Software Update’ Caused Maritime 911 Outage

By Brad Perry Jan 31, 2023 | 6:58 PM

Bell Aliant says a software update gone wrong prevented many Maritimers from being able to call 911 on Tuesday morning.

The company said the hours-long outage impacted landline customers in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Spokesperson Katie Hatfield said a software update was introduced at 6 a.m. Tuesday in preparation for 10-digit dialing in New Brunswick.

Hatfield said the update “triggered unexpected call processing failures to 9-1-1,” noting that other types of calls were not affected.

Once officials discovered what the issue was, she said they worked to roll back the update to restore services as quickly as possible.

The service was fully restored in all three Maritimes provinces by 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Hatfield.

“We have adjusted our processes and safeguards to ensure that this type of issue will not happen again, including adjusting our test plans for future updates,” Hatfield said, without elaborating further.

Hatfield said 911 outages are “rare” and the current issue was an “isolated incident.”

“Bell customers could access 9-1-1 via a wireless device because of a fall-back mechanism in our system. People could also still call local authorities directly,” she said.

During the outage, people were told to contact their local police force or fire department directly in the event of an emergency.

With files from Tara Clow


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