Aliant Telecom is asking its customers in Atlantic Canada to restrict use of long distance, wireless and Internet networks, where possible, to emergency use only in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States.

Aliant officials, in a statement today, said that due to the current crisis in the United States (see story – Plane attacks leave New York paralyzed, world shocked) that they are experiencing unprecedented increases in usage on their telecommunications network. This has required Aliant to take some important steps “to protect both the integrity of the network, and to provide emergency access.”

Effective immediately, and until further notice, emergency operations procedures have been invoked by Aliant.

By invoking these emergency-operating procedures, Aliant hopes to have additional capacity on its networks that to provide emergency services to displaced passengers from flights that have been diverted to the Atlantic region as well as to other emergency organizations.

The terrorist attacks this morning on the Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. have led the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to close all U.S. airports and reroute international flights to Canadian airports.

Aliant said it apologizes for any inconvenience these measures may cause.

Aliant, in Halifax, N.S., can be reached at