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Volume 32, Issue 3

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Monday, 19 November 2007 22:49

Temporarily Out of Service

Written by  John Newton Ph.D., P.Eng

In the midst of a summer heat wave, Diane Wier tried to withdraw cash to pay for airline tickets to attend a friend's wedding. The needed cash never emerged, only the annoying message - "Temporarily Out of Service" - appeared on the screen. From his cottage in Haliberton, Ross Baker couldn't reach his colleagues in downtown Toronto to get an update on a medial research project and arrange weekend meetings. All he got was a fast busy signal. And Damon Heart was frustrated in his efforts to reach his broker to act on a 'hot' tip.Clearly something was amiss in the Canadian Telecommunications system, one of the most advanced in the world. From Vancouver to Halifax, and as far south as Chicago selective telephone and data communications lines were out and over a million people were affected. Canadians were in the midst of one of the worst telecommunications failures in