Rogers ‘making progress’ in addressing massive telecom, banking and government service outages
Telecommunications giant Rogers said it was making progress in resolving a massive network outage on Friday that is impacting wireless, cable and internet customers across the country.
The outage began in the early hours of Friday morning, affecting a wide variety of services.
Later that day, Rogers told CBC News in a statement that he was getting closer to finding a solution.
“Our technical teams are working to restore our services alongside our global technology partners and are making progress,” the company said.
“We know how much you rely on our networks. Today we let you down. We are working to fix it as soon as possible. We will continue to keep you informed, including when the services are back in service. line.”
In an earlier statement, the company apologized to its customers and said the outage affected “our wired and wireless networks.”
Internet monitoring group Netblocks.org reports that total Internet traffic in Canada was 75% from its normal level on Friday morning.
A wide variety of services impacted
Rogers-owned spin-off brands like Fido and Chatr are also offline, but even services not directly controlled by Rogers, like emergency services, travel and financial networks, are having issues.
Debit payment services have also been discontinued.
“A nationwide telecommunications outage with a network provider … is impacting the availability of certain Interac services,” an Interac spokesperson confirmed to CBC News.
“Debit is currently unavailable online and at checkout. Interac e-transfer is also largely unavailable, impacting the ability to send and receive payments.”
Bell has confirmed that it has no problems on its network, although it says customers are having trouble connecting to anything on a Rogers network.
“Bell’s network is operational and calls and texts between Bell customers or to other providers are not impacted”, the company said on Twitter.
CBC’s radio station in Kitchener, Ont., was taken offline and off the air following the outage.
The Toronto Police Department tweeted that Rogers customers in that city were having trouble connecting to 911, but pointed out that 911 itself was working fine, as long as people weren’t calling from outside. a Rogers-affiliated device.
“We are working to resolve these issues,” the force said.
Other emergency services have reported a similar condition.
“Although Rogers is experiencing a nationwide outage, our testing has shown that 911 is still working,” a spokesperson for the Fredericton Police Department told CBC News.
Officials in Winnipeg and Vancouver also pointed out that emergency services are operational, but people on Rogers’ network don’t seem to be able to access them.
Under Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) rules in effect since 2017, telecommunications networks are supposed to ensure that cell phones can contact 911 even if they have no service.
Canada’s telecommunications regulator did not immediately respond to a request from CBC News about whether the 911 issues seen on Friday violated those rules. In a tweet, the CRTC said it also had no reliable phone service due to the Rogers outage.
Please note that our phone lines are affected by the Rogers network outage.
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Failure “incomprehensible” for Canadians
They are not the only ones. Ordinary Canadians told the CBC on Friday that the outage was unacceptable.
“This cannot happen again without changes being made,” Torontonian Andrew Revai told CBC News. “People can tweet all the memes they want about the loss of connectivity, but how will Rogers prevent it from happening again?”
Ottawa resident Robert Hubscher said “it’s incomprehensible” that a company as big as Rogers could suffer such an extensive outage for so long.
He uses Rogers for his cellphone and home internet, and said in an interview Friday that he’s happy to have services with other companies to keep connections going right now.
“It’s kind of scary that regulators aren’t looking at this more seriously,” Hubscher said.
Government services, including already overcrowded passport offices, Service Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency are also affected.
The Canada Border Services Agency says the ArriveCan app is disabled due to the outage and therefore anyone arriving in Canada have a paper copy of their vaccination status.
Rogers offered discounts after latest outage
Telecoms analyst Vince Valentini of TD Bank, which covers the business, says it’s not good for the company’s reputation to have an outage of this magnitude, especially since it seems to pertain to all of its services, from internet to wireless.
“The longer this situation lasts, the more we believe there could be minor risks of customer churn,” he said. “And there could also be credibility issues for Rogers in the future as it tries to increase sales.”
It’s the second time in as many years that Rogers has been rocked by a major outage, as the company’s wireless and wired networks similarly collapsed in April 2021. At the time, Rogers said blamed a problem with a software update at one of its telecom equipment vendors.
At that time, the company offered customers discounts for their services, which ultimately ended up being a few dollars per customer. If the same metric is applied this time, Valentini says the company could be owed about $28 million in rebates.
Technology analyst Ritesh Kotak says he suspects the cause of the outage is “an update gone wrong” in one of Rogers’ internal systems.
Regardless of why, Kotak says it underscores just how vulnerable the Canadian economy is to outages like this, and says it makes sure all of its telecom services come from different providers for that exact reason.
“It shows how dependent we are on this technology,” he said in an interview. “From some government departments…to working from home, it’s all literally been shut down.”
Vass Bednar, executive director of McMaster University’s Master of Public Policy in the Digital Society program, says the outage underscores a long-simmering problem with Canada’s telecommunications network, namely that infrastructure and services -themselves belong to private companies.
This is not the case everywhere in the world, where private sector players control one or the other, and often compete with a public option.
“Internet and cellular services…seem to be a public good,” she told CBC News in an interview on Friday. “They appear to be essential digital infrastructure that we all need to use, yet they are privately owned and operated.”
“Maybe it’s time for Canadians to seriously rethink that.”