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

General view of the Rogers Building, home of Rogers Communications 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 nearly fully operational after a massive outage which it attributed to a router malfunction following maintenance work.

The outage at one of Canada’s largest telecommunications operators has left millions of people without access to banks, transportation and government.

“We now believe we have narrowed the cause to a network system failure following a maintenance update on our core network that caused some of our routers to fail early Friday morning,” Rogers chief executive officer Tony Staffieri said in a statement.

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Canadians crowded 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 protection agency said the outage affected the mobile app for arriving travelers, while cashless payment systems stopped working. Police across Canada said some callers were unable to reach 911 for 911. Continue reading

The disruption, Rogers’ second in 15 months, drew anger from Canadians and calls on the government to increase competition in the telecoms sector.

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

Financial institutions and banks including Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Bank Of Montreal (BMO.TO) said Friday the outage had disrupted their services. The 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 traced a major outage to a bug associated with a software upgrade from Ericsson (ERICb.ST).

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

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

Earlier this year, Canada’s competition regulator blocked Rogers’ attempt to acquire rival Shaw Communications (SJRb.TO) in a $20 billion deal, saying it would hamper competition in a country where telecom rates are increasing belong to the highest in the world. The merger is still awaiting a final verdict. Continue reading

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

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