Seasonal Satellite Telecommunications Disruptions Coming Soon

The following press release was issued by Northwestel. I don't work for Northwestel, but I thought that readers of Telecom Digest might find this interesting.

10/04/2005 Seasonal Telecommunications Disruptions Coming Soon

Northwestel is reminding northern communities that receive telecommunications services via satellite that their telecommunications services may be affected by minor disruptions throughout the next few weeks.

Beginning October 5th and ending October 18th, these communities may notice short telecommunications interruptions because of a phenomenon called "sun transit."

Sun transit occurs twice annually, both in the spring and fall, when satellites pass directly between the sun and satellite dishes on earth. The natural radio frequency noise from the sun is stronger than the satellite signals, which results in a brief service degradation.

Northerners may notice noise, fading, or interruptions to long distance, data and television services that are carried via satellite.

The exact time of the sun transit disruptions depends both on the location of the satellite being affected and the geographic location of the earth station receiving the signals.

"The disruptions are usually so brief that many people don't notice them," said Anne Kennedy, Northwestel Public Affairs Director. "This fall, they'll occur during a 40-minute period that will begin either around noon, or in the early to mid-afternoon, depending on which area of the North you are located in,"

Local telephone service will not be affected.

"There is nothing that can be done to prevent sun transit disruptions, because they are a natural phenomenon," added Kennedy. "If customers do have trouble when trying to place long distance calls or with data transmissions, we recommend that they wait a few moments and then try again. The disruption is likely to be over when they try a second time."

For more information on the effect of sun transit on satellite transmissions, check Telesat's website at

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Northwestel provides complete telecommunications solutions for the

110,000 residents of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon and northern British Columbia. The company's operations span nearly 4 million square kilometres of the most remote and rugged areas of Canada. All of the company's nearly 600 employees are northern residents. Established over 50 years ago, Northwestel is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bell Canada.
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Nigel Allen
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