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Rogers network resumes after major blackout affecting millions of Canadians

Rogers network resumes after major blackout affecting millions of Canadians
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  • Rogers dominates Canada’s telecommunications sector
  • Bank services down, transportation interrupted
  • The blackout renews criticism of competition in the telecommunications sector

TORONTO/OTTAWA, July 8 (Reuters) – Rogers Telecommunications said its network was starting to recover on Friday night after a 19-hour outage at one of Canada’s largest telecoms operators shut down access banking, transportation and government services to millions of people, sparking customer outrage. and adding to the criticism of his dominance in the industry.

Nearly every facet of life has been disrupted, with the outage affecting internet access, cell phone, and landline phone connections. Some callers were unable to reach emergency services through 911 calls, police Canada said.

Canadians flocked to cafes and public libraries that still had Internet access and hovered outside hotels to pick up a signal. Canada’s border services agency said the outage affected its mobile app for incoming travellers. Retail cashless payment systems collapsed; banks reported problems with ATM services.

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rogers (RCIB.TO) he said in a statement on Twitter that “our wireless services are beginning to recover” and workers are trying to get people back online as quickly as possible.

in a separate statement On his website, Rogers Chairman and CEO Tony Staffieri apologized for the outage, saying, “We let them down today. We can and will do better.”

He added that the company does not have a timeline for when networks will be fully restored, “but we will continue to share information with our customers as we fully restore services.”

He said a credit would be applied to affected customers.

A spokesman for Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino said late Friday that the outage was not the result of a cyberattack.

Rogers shares closed down 73 cents at Cdn$61.54 ($47.53) on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The outage also made transportation and flight bookings difficult at the height of the summer travel season.

So far, Transport Canada has received no reports of direct safety impacts to any flight, maritime or rail service as part of this outage, according to spokesman Sau Liu.

The hiatus was Rogers’ second in 15 months. It began around 4:30 a.m. ET (0830 GMT) and knocked out a quarter of Canada’s observable internet connectivity, monitoring group NetBlocks said.

With around 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. (ECB.TO) and Telus Corp. (T.TO) they control 90% of the market share in Canada.

Canadian Industry Minister Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne called the situation “unacceptable” in a tweet and said he was in communication with telecommunications CEOs, including those of Rogers, Bell and Telus, to find a solution.

Canadian banks and financial institutions, including Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), said the blackout interrupted services. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) it said its ATMs and online banking services were affected.

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

A spokesman for Vancouver International Airport, one of Canada’s busiest, said travelers could not pay for parking, use ATMs in the terminals or buy items at airport stores.

air canada (ACT), the country’s largest airline, said its call center had been affected. Airlines in Canada, like those in Europe and the United States, have been experiencing high call volumes amid flight cancellations and delays due to staffing shortages during the pandemic. read more

Pop star The Weeknd announced Friday night that his tour stop at Rogers Center has been postponed due to service outages that affected the venue’s operations.

“I’m shattered and heartbroken. Been on site all day but it’s out of our hands due to Rogers’ interruption,” the singer wrote in a tweet.

COMPETITION

Critics said the outage demonstrated the need for more competition in telecommunications.

Earlier this year, Canada’s competition office blocked Rogers’ bid to take over Shaw Communications. (SJRb.TO) in a C$20 billion deal, saying it would hamper competition in a country where telecom rates are some of the highest in the world. The merger still awaits a final verdict. read more

“Today’s outage illustrates the need for more independent competition that will drive more investment in the network, so outages are much less likely,” said Anthony Lacavera, managing director of Globealive, an investment firm that submitted a bid. by a wireless carrier involved in the Rogers/Shaw deal. . .

On Friday, some government agencies canceled services after losing internet access, including Canada’s passport offices and the telecommunications regulator. The Canada Revenue Agency, the country’s tax collection agency, has lost phone service.

‘CASH WILL BE KING’

Toronto stores and restaurants post “Cash Only” signs on their doors. Residents huddled in and around a nearby Starbucks coffee shop that was offering free Wi-Fi on an unaffected network.

“There are tons of people here with their laptops working furiously, just like they would at home, because they don’t have service at home,” said Ken Rosenstein, a Starbucks customer.

In downtown Ottawa, Canada’s capital, cafes, including Tim Hortons, did not accept debit and credit cards and turned away customers who did not have cash.

Michelle Wasylyshen, a spokeswoman for the Retail Council of Canada, said blackouts would vary from retailer to retailer: “Cash will surely be king in many stores today.”

While the outages were widespread, several businesses and transit points said their services were unaffected. The Port of Montreal reported no outages. The Calgary Airport Authority said it had “no major operational impacts”.

(1 = 1.2948 Canadian dollars)

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Reporting from Yuvraj Malik, Eva Matthews, Shubham Kalia, and Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; Katharine Jackson in Washington; Divya Rajagopal and Chris Helgren in Toronto; Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Written by Rami Ayyub, Aurora Ellis, and Christian Schmollinger; Edited by Shinjini Ganguli, Jonathan Oatis, David Gregorio, and Leslie Adler & Shri Navaratnam

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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