Rogers service restored after cross-Canada outage, blames router malfunction

General view of the Rogers Building, Rogers Communications neighborhoods in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 22, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

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July 9 (Reuters) – Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO) said on Saturday its services were almost fully operational after a massive outage it blamed on a malfunctioning router after maintenance work.

The outage at one of Canada’s largest telecommunications operators has shut down access to banking, transportation and government services for millions of people.

“We now believe we have narrowed the cause to a network system failure following a maintenance update to our core network, which caused some of our routers to malfunction early Friday morning,” said the CEO of Rogers, Tony Staffieri, in a statement.

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Canadians crammed into cafes and public libraries that still had internet access and hovered outside hotels to pick up a signal on Friday. The country’s border services agency said the outage affected its mobile app for inbound travelers while cashless payment systems stopped working. Police across Canada said some callers could not reach emergency services through 911 calls. Read more

The outage, Rogers’ second in 15 months, has sparked fury from Canadians and calls for the government to increase competition in the telecommunications sector.

With approximately 10 million wireless subscribers and 2.25 million retail Internet subscribers, Rogers is the leading provider in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province and home to its largest city, Toronto. Rogers, BCE Inc (BCE.TO) and Telus Corp (T.TO) control 90% of the market share in Canada.

Financial institutions and banks, including the Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), said Friday the outage disrupted their services. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) said its ATMs and online banking services were affected.

In the statement, Staffieri said the company would “proactively” credit affected customers on Friday and invest in its network and technology.

Last year, Rogers attributed a major outage to an issue with an Ericsson software upgrade (ERICb.ST).

Ericsson said Saturday it was aware of the outage and was in regular communication with the company to restore service.

Critics said the outage demonstrated a need for more competition in telecommunications, adding to criticism of the company’s industrial dominance.

Earlier this year, Canada’s competition bureau blocked Rogers’ attempt to take over rival Shaw Communications (SJRb.TO) in a C$20 billion deal, saying it would stifle competition in a country where telecommunications prices are among the highest in the world. The merger is still awaiting a final verdict. Read more

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Reporting by Akanksha Khushi in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Editing by Alison Williams, Diane Craft and Chris Reese

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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