CRTC Demanding Answers from Rogers About Outage

Barely four days after a Canada-wide service interruption on the Rogers network, the head of Canada’s telecom regulator is calling the company out and demanding a fulsome explanation. A statement on Tuesday from the chairperson and CEO of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has a list of questions for Rogers, and he wants them answered almost immediately.

“The CRTC is requesting a detailed account from Rogers as to ‘why’ and ‘how’ this happened, as well as what measures Rogers is putting in place to prevent future outages,” said Ian Scott in a statement. “We take the safety, security, and wellness of Canadians very seriously and we are responsible for ensuring that Canadians have access at all times to a reliable and efficient communications system.”

“Today, the CRTC ordered Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (Rogers) to respond to detailed questions and provide a comprehensive explanation regarding the national service outage millions of Canadians experienced on Friday July 8, 2022,” Scott added.

This follows up on an announcement from Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne yesterday after meeting with the heads of Rogers, Telus and Bell in which he demanded that the big telecos “take immediate action to improve the resiliency and reliability of our networks by ensuring a formal arrangement is in place within 60 days.”

“I directed the companies to reach agreements on (i) emergency roaming, (ii) mutual assistance during outages, & (iii) a communication protocol to better inform the public and authorities during telecommunications emergencies,” Champagne added. “This is just a first step. Canadians deserve more from their providers in terms of quality and reliability of service and I will ensure they meet the high standard that Canadians expect, including improving competition, innovation and affordability.”

Back at the CRTC, Scott says that Rogers has until July 22 to respond to their questions, and once they are satisfied with the company’s answers, the Commission will determine what addition measures are not needed.

“This is the first step the CRTC is taking to improve network resiliency for all Canadians in response to this significant outage. Events of this magnitude paralyzing portions of our country’s economy and jeopardizing the safety of Canadians are simply unacceptable,” Scott added.

Service is mostly restored to all Rogers networks although there are still some glitches reported, specifically in the Rogers cable TV service. The other concern is scam artists sending texts with phishing-style links for people to claim their credits from Rogers to compensate them for the July 8. Guelph Police Service sent out a warning about the scam earlier Tuesday afternoon.

Rogers has said in public statements that it’s their intention to credit customers for the service disruption, and they are continuing to investigate the root causes of the service blackout on Friday even though they now think they understand the mechanics of what happened.

“We now believe we’ve narrowed the cause to a network system failure following a maintenance update in our core network, which caused some of our routers to malfunction early Friday morning,” explained Rogers CEO  Tony Staffieri in a statement on Saturday. “We disconnected the specific equipment and redirected traffic, which allowed our network and services to come back online over time as we managed traffic volumes returning to normal levels.”

“As CEO, I take full responsibility for ensuring we at Rogers earn back your full trust […]  You have my personal commitment that we can, and will, do better,” Staffieri added.

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