Canada's two largest mobile carriers say bolstered capacity measures helped their networks handle the extra wireless traffic in hot spot regions where tens of thousands of people gathered to take in Monday's total solar eclipse.

BCE Inc. says its Bell network saw five times the regular volume of traffic in areas including Niagara, Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal, Sherbrooke, Brockville, Kingston and Quebec City.

Rogers Communications Inc. says in Niagara Falls, which was preparing for up to one million visitors, it saw six times the normal pressure on its network.

Both say their networks continued to run optimally due in part to portable mobile towers known as Cell on Wheels or COWs, which were deployed to increase capacity.

The companies also say their technical teams paused routine maintenance work that could have reduced service levels.

The City of Niagara Falls and Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake had both warned about the possibility of spotty cellphone or internet service on the day of the eclipse if the influx of tourists were to overwhelm the system. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2024.

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