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Forced landline forfeiture


In the event of a natural disaster, landline copper can be powered indefinitely via batteries and a backup generator from the central office (CO). As a previous member of the provincial PEP (Provincial Emergency Preparedness) team, I take this very seriously.


With fibre, you don't have that luxury.  If you're lucky and your residential TELUS ONT unit has backup power, it's usually good for a few hours but if there's an extended outage, you essentially have no landline.  Too bad for you.


We had a fibre drop on our home for years that went unused for this very reason.  Every sales agent I spoke to in that time was taken aback by my arguing for keeping the copper landline and none of them had considered my line of reasoning.  


And, news today, that TELUS will be transitioning our community entirely over to fibre.  I understand the cost savings, but I believe they're being very short-sighted.  I wonder if the CRTC is on board with this move.



Battery power backup is the way cable companies offer phone service as their wiring does not provide DC power. So this is similar to the way that the ONT functions.  CRTC was not concerned about the cable companies phone offering not  being remotely powered so I don't see them being concerned about the way TELUS is providing their new phone service.

The principle here is we're moving from a remotely powered system with centrally-managed backups to the reverse -- where the point of failure will be at the residence in the event of a lengthly power outage.  Not to mention the ongoing (small, but cumulative) electrical ONT costs that the residential customer must bear.

It's one thing to install a new system that won't have backup power (eg. cable and VOIP); it's another to have to an existed robust copper-based phone system replaced with a technology that's far less robust.

Community Power User
Community Power User

The problem is, it is not robust, there is a lot of maintenance to ensure copper remains operating. Trail was one of the early communities switched to fibre due to the degradation of connections throughout the city, making fibre much, much cheaper to operate and maintain.

With ever fewer people even having a landline, there comes a point where it’s utility is suspect, and other options make more sense. Having worked in EOC, landlines are ever less used there as well. A robust cell network, with prioritized connectivity, allows field and EOC to communicate directly.


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@zzyzyman @NFtoBC    Power usage for ont and bat pack very small.  Trail same as Creston central core change to  fiber all other locations will have copper for a very long time. Power out your you will still need a analog phone to phone out on copper or fiber with a bat back up Hand held phones won't work on fiber or copper with power out. I now have  a $100 / 365 cell for this and safety when on the road. No matter what you want the cost of these services is reflected in the monthly bill even if you don't see it.


@zzyzyman  In Creston the main population portion of the valley is on fiber if you want to. Some apartment building will probably never see fiber. I changed to fiber but  had them put in a battery backup. (no cell Phone) No cost to me. The copper line i had was so bad for years now perfect. This was done same time to get a faster fiber internet. Polecat


@zzyzyman   You don't have to sign up for fiber if you don't want it. Sales people calling you don't pay attention to them. The copper wires will still be there many years down the road'

Landline customers in the neighbourhood who aren't on fibre will eventually be required to have a ONT terminal installed in their homes as the copper plant will go dead.


From a principled perspective, that's irritating in itself -- given the ongoing small but cumulative electrical bills the customer will now have to pay to BC Hydro in an effort to save TELUS some infrastructure maintenance costs.


This is honestly a big problem I have with PureFibre for phone service, they did not even install a backup battery on the ONT which honestly should be mandatory. At least Shaw installs a backup battery in their VOIP cable modem. My grandpa used to pick Telus over Shaw because the phone would work in a power outage long term without worrying about a backup battery, now they switched him over to an ONT with no backup battery. He doesn't even have internet or TV with Telus, those are still on Shaw as they didn't offer those services to his house in the past, so the ONT isnt doing anything but providing phone service. I have yet to ask him what he thinks about having no phone during a power outage.