Rogers network outage across Canada hits banks, businesses and consumers


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

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TORONTO, July 8 (Reuters) – A major outage to Rogers Communications Inc.’s (RCIb.TO) mobile and internet networks caused widespread disruption across Canada on Friday, affecting banks, police hotlines and customers during the second blackout that hit one of the countries. largest telecom providers in 15 months.

Customers flocked to cafes and public libraries to access alternative networks, while financial institutions reported problems with everything from automated machines to cashless payment systems.

“We are currently experiencing an outage on our wired and wireless networks and our technical teams are working hard to restore services as quickly as possible,” Rogers said in a statement.

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The outage is likely to add to concerns about competition in the industry dominated by Rogers.

The company, which has approximately 10 million wireless subscribers and 2.25 million retail Internet subscribers, is the leading service provider in Ontario and, along with BCE Inc (BCE.TO) and Telus Corp (T. TO), controls 90% of the market. share in Canada.

Earlier this year, Canada’s competition bureau blocked Rogers’ bid to take over rival Shaw Communications (SJRb.TO) in a C$20 billion deal, saying it would hamper competition in a country where telecommunications prices are among the highest in the world. Read more

“Today’s outage illustrates the need for more independent competition which will drive more investment in the network, so outages are much less likely,” said Anthony Lacavera, chief executive of Globealive, a company investment company that had bid for a wireless service provider involved in the Rogers/Shaw deal. .

Downdetector, which tracks outages by collating status reports from a number of sources, showed outage reports as of 4:30 a.m. ET, hitting more than 20,000 users by 7 a.m. ET. Reports dropped to around 8,000 at 11:30 a.m. ET.

The nationwide outage has made it difficult for some callers to reach emergency services via 911 calls, police across Canada, including Ottawa and Toronto, its largest city, said.

Interac, which operates an email money transfer service used by several Canadian banks, said the outage affected its services. The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) said it was experiencing system issues with the Interac e-Transfer service.

Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) said the outage affected financial institutions, toll-free numbers as well as transactions, while Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) said its ATMs and banking services online were affected.

Canadian Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said his team was in contact with the company.

“We have expressed how important it is that this matter be resolved as soon as possible and that the company provide prompt and clear communication directly to those affected,” he tweeted.

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It was the second major outage for Rogers in just over a year. In April last year, thousands of its customers reported intermittent outages in wireless voice and data services for several hours before the company was able to restore full network operation.

On Friday in downtown Ottawa, cafes including Tim Hortons were not accepting debit and credit cards and turning away customers who did not have cash. Tim Hortons did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the impact on its business.

Toronto residents crowded in and around a downtown Starbucks cafe offering free Wi-Fi on a network unaffected by the outage.

“There are tons of people here with their laptops working ferociously, like they would at home, because they have no service at home,” said customer Ken Rosenstein.

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Reporting by 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 Ankur Banerjee; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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