Rogers says services that have mostly been restored after a day-long outage have left millions offline

Rogers services are back online for most customers after a day-long outage at the telecom giant that left millions of Canadians without internet and cellular service, while disrupting government services and payment systems.

Some individual users saw their Internet and cell phone connections come back to life on Friday evening, and an update sent to CBC’s IT department reported that the problem with “the core network… appears to have recovered.”

in Modernization Rogers, who posted on Twitter on Saturday morning, said it has now restored services to “the vast majority of our customers” and that its technical teams are working hard to ensure remaining customers are back online as quickly as possible.

The Toronto-based company did not provide any timetable for when to restore service to all customers.

Tony Staveri, Rogers’ CEO and president, said in an open letter that the company apologizes for the outage. No explanation was given for the outage or the number of customers affected.

The outage began early Friday morning. Throughout the day, the company said little about its cause or when it might end.

Kee Brig, Senior Vice President of Networks and Access Operations at CBC power politics.

“We are working very hard to make sure everything is up and running as quickly as possible,” he told host Catherine Cullen.

Watch | Rogers is close to finding the source of the problem:

Rogers is unsure when service will return after a nationwide outage

Kee Brig, senior vice president at Rogers, says the company is studying the root cause of a problem that left millions of Canadians without cellular service on Friday, but it can’t at this time give an estimate of “full network recovery.”

The company has nearly nine million wireless customers and shy of just three million on the cable and internet side of the business.

In response to questions about compensation, Rogers previously said he would “proactively rely on all customers” – but did not provide further details.

According to a statement from Canada’s cyber espionage agency, the Communications Security Corporation, there is no indication that the outage was the result of a cyber attack.

US-based cybersecurity firm Cloudflare agreed with that assessment, saying in a blog post that the outage was likely an “internal error.”

Whatever the reason, the effect was dramatic. Internet monitoring group Netblocks.org reported that Total internet traffic in Canada reached 75 percent From normal on Friday morning.

Rogers-owned brands such as Fido and Chatr have also ceased operations, as have services that Rogers does not directly control, such as emergency services, travel and financial networks.

Watch | A government official says it’s not a cyber attack:

Rogers’ outage does not appear to be a cyberattack: government official

“At this point, I think we can reassure Canadians that this is not a cyberattack,” Parliamentary Secretary Greg Fergus of Rogers County in Canada said, citing early analysis from the Communications Security Foundation.

Debt repayment services have also been cut off.

An Interac spokesperson confirmed to CBC News that “a nationwide telecommunications outage with the network provider … is affecting the availability of some Interac services.”

“Debit is currently not available online and at checkout. Interac electronic transfer is also not widely available, affecting the ability to send and receive payments.”

Bell confirmed that he is not experiencing any problems on his network, although he says that customers are having difficulties connecting to anything on Rogers’ network.

“The Bell network is operational and calls and text messages between Bell customers or other service providers are not affected,” The company said on Twitter.

Telus networks were operating normally as well.

CBC radio station in Kitchener, Ontario, has ceased operations and broadcasts offline as a result of a power outage.

Emergency services across the country have reported problems, in some cases at the dispatch centers themselves, but mostly with Rogers customers unable to contact them.

Under Canadian Radio, Television and Communications Commission (CRTC) rules in place since 2017, telecom networks are supposed to ensure that cell phones are able to call 911 even if they don’t have service.

The Canadian communications regulator did not immediately respond to a request from CBC News about whether the 911 problems seen on Friday violated those rules. In a tweet, the CRTC said it also does not have reliable phone service due to the Rogers outage.

Watch | Here’s what regular Canadians tell us:

Rogers’ big outage hits businesses and customers across Canada

Rogers’ customers were surprised by Friday’s massive outage in both mobile networks and the internet, which also caused widespread disruption to banks, businesses and some emergency services across Canada.

Power outage ‘incomprehensible’

They are not the only ones. Ordinary Canadians told CBC News Friday that blackouts are unacceptable.

“This cannot happen again without making changes,” Torontonian Andrew Revay said. “People can tweet all the memes they want about losing contact but how is Rogers going to prevent that from happening again?”

Robert Hubacher, an Ottawa resident, said it was “incomprehensible” that a company as large as Rogers could experience widespread outages for such a long period.

Rogers uses his mobile phone and home internet, and said he’s glad he has some services with other companies to maintain connections for now.

“It’s a little bit scary that regulators aren’t looking at this more seriously,” Hubacher said.

Bad news for Rogers’ proposed takeover of Shaw

The outage comes as Rogers tries to secure approval to acquire Calgary-based Shaw Communications, in a deal that would give it more control of the Canadian telecoms scene. The CRTC has already signed off on the merger, but several regulatory hurdles, including the Competition Bureau, had concerns about the deal even before Friday.

Friday’s disaster is likely to become another major obstacle to getting this deal done.

Government services including already stockpiled passport offices, Service Canada, Public Services, Canada Procurement and the Canada Revenue Agency are also affected.

Watch | Expert says regulations need reform:

Telecom expert says Canadian system needs overhaul

Ben Klass says Rogers’ outage is another lesson in why Canada’s communications regulations need to be completely changed to ensure consumers and businesses can rely on them when they are most needed.

The Canada Border Services Agency says the ArriveCan app is down due to outage, so anyone arriving in Canada You must have a paper copy of their vaccination status.

Communications analyst Vince Valentini at TD Bank, which covers Rogers, says it’s not good for the company’s reputation to suffer a disruption of this magnitude, especially since it appears to be present in all of its services, from internet to wireless.

“The longer this situation continues, we believe there may be minor risks to customers,” he said. “And also there may be issues with Rogers’ credibility in the future as they try to increase sales.”

It’s the second time in as many years that Rogers has experienced a major outage, as the company’s wireless and cable networks disrupted in a similar fashion in April 2021. At the time, Rogers blamed a software update issue at a communications equipment supplier.

At the time, the company offered customers rebates on their services, which ended up being a few dollars per customer. If the same metric were applied this time around, Valentini says the company could be in trouble for about $28 million in discounts.

Technology analyst Riteish Kotak says he suspects the outage is caused by an “update error” in one of Rogers’ internal systems.

Regardless of the reason, Kotak says he underscores how vulnerable the Canadian economy is to such outages, and says he makes sure all of his telecom services come from different providers for exactly that reason.

“It shows how dependent we are on this technology,” he said in an interview. “From some government services… to working from home, it’s literally all shut down.”

The outage highlights a long-standing problem with the Canadian telecoms network, which is that the infrastructure and services themselves are owned by private companies, says Vas Bednar, executive director of McMaster University’s Master of Public Policy program in Digital Society.

This is not the case everywhere in the world, where private players control one or the other, often competing with a public choice.

“The internet and cellular services … seem like a public good,” she told CBC News. “It looks like an important digital infrastructure that we all need to use, yet it is privately owned and operated.”

“Maybe it’s time for Canadians to seriously rethink that.”

Bank machines and other financial networks across the country were out of order, apparently due to problems with Rogers. (Angela McIvor/CBC)

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