Cell phone service could be impacted due to the solar eclipse in Ontario


Published March 27, 2024 at 1:25 pm

solar eclipse cell phone service ontario

Cell phone service could be impacted in areas where a large influx of people are expected to gather for the solar eclipse in southern Ontario.

Thousands of people are expected to descend on Niagara Falls for the eclipse on April 8, and the city has been preparing for months. The Niagara Region is one of many southern Ontario communities, which will experience a total solar eclipse that day.

In addition to traffic jams, the City of Niagara Falls warns there could be disruption to internet and cell phone service.

“As with any large event that brings high levels of visitation into a concentrated area, it is possible that cell signal may be compromised,” the City of Niagara Falls warns on its website.

The city suggests visitors and residents develop a communication plan with family and friends in case of limited service.

In the case of an emergency, people may have to find a landline phone at a local business or neighbour’s home to call 911.

There could also be disruptions to ATMs and the city suggests people bring enough cash. Visitors should be prepared and have a full gas tank, extra water and food.

Cell phone providers are also getting ready for possible disruptions.

Bell Canada told insauga.com they are preparing for increased demand on the network that day.

“In preparation for the solar eclipse, our teams are putting measures in place to ensure the network continues to run optimally in regions where we anticipate large crowds to gather,” Bell said in an emailed statement.

“A dedicated team will be monitoring usage levels throughout the event, and routine maintenance work that can impact capacity will be put on hold so that data and voice services are optimized for larger groups of people.”

Rogers plans to bring in portable mobile towers to increase capacity, prioritizing certain locations based on past event data.

They have completed targeted upgrades and are optimizing sites to bring in more capacity.

Rogers also did network health checks for all event sites and is implementing special event configurations at certain sites.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for many Canadians and our team is getting ready to handle the potential increase in wireless traffic in regions of total eclipse,” Rogers said in a statement to insauga.com.

For more on safety preparations for April 8, see the City of Niagara Falls page here and the Niagara Regional Police page here.

Lead photo: Adam Smith

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