Rogers management said Friday evening that its services are gradually recovering after an outage paralyzed its networks all day. This outage quickly caused headaches for many Canadians, disrupted many activities, and demonstrated the importance of cell phones and the Internet in daily life.
“Our wireless services are slowly being restored and our technical teams are working hard to get everyone connected as quickly as possible,” Rogers spokeswoman Nilani said late in the evening. Lodgeswaran.
“We will continue to keep our customers informed as our services and traffic volumes return to normal,” she added, without providing details on the nature of the outage.
Emergency services such as 911, the availability of Interac to make payments and transfers, and the services of certain ATMs were quickly affected on Friday.
The outage also affected call centers and Canadian government offices, including passport offices.
With many people still working from home, the outage forced many Rogers customers to quickly find an alternative way to communicate and work.
Marc R., a citizen who contacted The Press, worried Friday for his mother who has health problems and a telephone line at Rogers as her only means of communication. “She is alone at home. I can’t reach her and she can’t reach anyone. It must not be the only one and there must be many other problems associated with this failure. »
Claiming to be “severely handicapped”, Louise M. maintained that she was “enraged” and taken “hostage”. “My debit card is not working. This forced me to move in a hurry to find cash, otherwise I can’t pay for anything, neither a taxi nor groceries. For a normal person, it’s a trivial gesture. It is not when you are disabled, ”she continues.
“I don’t have a motorized wheelchair or adapted transport. I am alone and without help and I was forced to take the risk of getting on the bus to collect money. I dare not imagine for people with disabilities and seniors what this breakdown must have caused in terms of worries. »
bad for reputation
“It’s never good for reputation and customer satisfaction to have subscribers inconvenienced by a network outage,” commented TD analyst Vince Valentini.
“It is particularly unusual and disruptive to see wired and wireless networks go down at the same time,” he added in a note sent to customers on Friday.
The longer the outage, the greater the risk of Rogers losing customers, according to this expert. Vince Valentini also believes that the credibility of leaders could suffer from this episode and harm efforts to gain market share from companies.
Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Friday that his department stressed to Rogers how important it was for the situation to be resolved as quickly as possible.
Whether it’s cell phones, the Internet or banking services, we expect these services to meet the quality standards that Canadians deserve.
Meanwhile, the Public Interest Advocacy Center has asked the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to launch an investigation into the outage under the Telecommunications Act. The CRTC confirmed that it had received the application and was reviewing it.
Rogers Communications has yet to provide details on the cause of the outage.
Credit for customers
A failure caused by a software update from partner Ericsson affected services at Rogers in the spring of last year. This update caused devices to disconnect from the network. This outage lasted 16 hours and Rogers then offered its customers a credit equivalent to the wireless service charges on the May bill.
Rogers intends this time to apply credits “proactively” to all of its customers.
Vince Valentini suspects for his part that Rogers will obtain compensation from its partners and suppliers of equipment and technology.
Interac spokesperson Bryan Bossin says the company’s debit and wire transfer services remain unavailable across Canada.
Lack of competition
Downdetector, a website that monitors outages, says people started reporting issues with Rogers’ service around 4:30 a.m., and by 7 a.m. there were 20,000 issues.
Customers in Toronto, Kitchener, Moncton, Ottawa and Mississauga made the most reports on the website, with 45% reporting a total outage, 29% reporting mobile internet issues and 26% reporting fixed internet problems.
According to data from Downdetector, it appears the outage also affected independent networks, which often use Rogers’ signal.
Last year, the company suffered a massive outage caused by a software update that left customers without service.
“The outage is a good example of the lack of competition in telecommunications in Canada,” said the executive director of McMaster University’s master’s in public policy program, Vass Bednar, in an interview.
Canada’s telecommunications sector is dominated by three major carriers — Rogers, Bell and Telus — and their hold on the industry has long been a concern to industry experts, who have repeatedly called on regulators to increase competition for mobile and internet services in Canada.
The Competition Bureau is currently opposing Rogers’ plan to buy Shaw Communications for $26 billion, despite the planned sale of its Freedom Mobile business to Quebecor.
According to Mme Bednar said the fact that many services, ranging from 911 to public transit, were affected Friday morning proves the need for increased competition.
“But unless people switch providers today or new public options suddenly appear, there’s not much more we can do right now, other than maybe heed the anger and frustration of people,” she added.
Rogers, which also operates the Fido and Chatr brands, has some 10 million subscribers to its mobile phone services.
With The Canadian Press