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LETTER: Switch to fibre optic carries consequences

Telus is forcing everyone in our neighbourhood to adopt their high fibre optic cable. While this will likely provide an improvement/upgrade for internet and TV service, the main reason for it is it saves Telus money. This is, however, a huge step backwards in emergency preparedness for our rural community.

Telus is threatening us with the loss of our copper wired landline service if we don’t allow them into our homes – in COVID times to boot, exposing two 90-year-olds to unnecessary risk – to make the switch.

High fibre optic cables do not work when the power is out. We currently have two copper-wired landlines on our property – one in my 90-year-old parents’ side of our duplex, and one on my and my husband’s side. We chose to remain connected to copper-wired landlines in this age of cellphones because they continue to work when there are power outages, which are frequent and can last for days – well over the 12 hours the battery pack Telus will provide as backup lasts.

Also, my 90-year-old father doesn’t know quite what to do with a cellphone but he does know how to call 911 on our landlines. In addition, once the 12 hours is up and the battery pack is dead, cellphones can no longer be charged. Murphy’s law dictates that the heart attack will occur 12 hours after the power goes out and the cellphone is dead. The neighbours are often quite far away in this rural area, making it hard to run to them to borrow theirs. Also, most 90-year-olds don’t run.

Lastly, our area also has intermittent, spotty or even no cell service, depending on where you live, leaving this option unreliable in an emergency situation.

Telus, what are you thinking? Obviously not about the residents of our neighbourhood’s safety and well-being.

Rachel French de Mejia

Metchosin