Last Week's Canadian Fiber Cut

Did we ever get any resolution on why this was such a big outage? Appears there were two fiber cuts. Were the fibers damaged in the same conduit? Is this a collapsed ring scenario?

Roderick Beck

Director of Global Sales

United Cable Company

DRG Undersea Consulting

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85 Király utca, 1077 Budapest



Never really heard a lot about it …. We never lost connectivity to Halifax from Montreal via Hibernia - interesting topic though as we have a backup path that I’m looking to replace :slight_smile:


My understanding is that the Bell Aliant outage was a double fault
situation. Bell Aliant had a fiber cut on one of their fiber routes
early in the morning and then they had a fault on the diverse fiber
route before the first trouble could be repaired.

In other words, bad luck. Probability dictates if enough time transpires, every bad thing will happen. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Perhaps some transatlantic fallback? It looks like the only cable out there is the Greenland one.. guessing that’s not very competitive? It only gets you to Iceland it seems.

- Jared

It wasn’t an issue getting transatlantic - it was an issue within a relatively small region in Eastern Canada talking to the rest of the world for certain carriers. There were several smaller carriers/providers not affected - just happens the local incumbent telco and one of their larger competitors got knocked out …

I can't speak for the Bell Aliant network, but I'm only aware of two
diverse fiber routes out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Halifax -> New
Brunswick -> Quebec City is the Canadian route and Halifax -> Boston is
the diverse route.

Well Hibernia had those routes. I thought it would have been the 360 terrestrial cable and Hibernia's underwater cable from Halifax to their Boston landing station.

Interesting enough, we did not lose connectivity to our offices in PEI, so I assume there is some diversity from that point in the Bell network.


Just read this on

"Bell spokesman Nathan Gibson says the first cut was by a highway
construction crew near Drummondville, Que.

He says service wasn't impacted in any significant way because of
redundancy in the network until a second major cut near Richibucto, N.B.,
by a logging company in a densely forested location.

He says the second cut was difficult to access and took some time to locate
precisely, and the site's inaccessibility slowed the arrival of heavy
equipment and repair crews."

There is a third route from Halifax -> New Brunswick -> Portland, ME ->
[Albany, Boston]

Let’s not forget that all POTS and cell service was offline during the
outage - even for local and 911 service.

There is some high level of dependence on some equipment in Quebec and/or
westward which should not be there.

A double fault like that should not knock out all local service for 4 out
of 10 provinces. I would expect that an architectural review is under way.

Yeah good point Chris …. Got thinking about this too much from an IP perspective :slight_smile:

Does this sound like a dry run to anyone else? Or did I forget to take my anti-paranoia pills today?

For background on the Greenland Connect cable, the UKNOF presentation I
presented (built by Heller, Harland, and I) in 2009 is here at - You can get past Iceland for sure. Just not for

(Honorable mentions in all of this for AMS-IX, LINX, Nick Hilliard, Andy
Davidson and Will Hargrave. Remco van Mook got the Golden Jökulhlaup for
his part).

The route was cost prohibitive as you guessed. There was reach-ability from
the EU to CA via RVK and GOH, The built paths were CPH-RVK-GOH-YHZ and
LON-RVK-GOH-YHZ. While the GOH route were most prohibitive, the RVK paths
less so. It was much cheaper to route LON to LGA via Hibernia. I like it as
a back up path. So did a few banks. But cost. Do I think this is a viable
path? Yes. Will it ever come down in cost? I'd go back to try this again.
Maybe things have changed?



Unless I am mistaken, that is an old legacy route. I don't think it is a new build. I know at one time Hibernia was selling its undersea link from Halifax to Boston as a back up for that route. On the other hand, there have been some Canadian carrier builds recently so may be it's not legacy.



It would be interesting to know how incumbent telco services within
Aliant territory became dependent on a link to central Canada. Whenh on
dials 911 in Moncton, does it require some database inquiry to some
database in Toronto, failing which, the call can't go through?

(Aliant, which used to be separate maritime telcos was bought lock stock
and barrel by Bell Canada a couple years ago, so likely rationlized some
services to save costs, so anything that became dependent on some
Toronto server would stop working)

The CRTC asked Bell for a report on what happened, but told media that
report may not be made public.

No, this is not a legacy route. It was a new route constructed in 2012 as
part of the Federal BTOP ARRA program. It is a 1,100 mile high strand count
fiber ring around Maine with multiple border crossings. Dozens of carriers
are using it.