- Rogers dominates Canada’s telecommunications sector
- Banking services collapsed, transport was disrupted
- The acrimony renews criticism of telecom sector competition
TORONTO/OTTAWA, July 8 (Reuters) – Rogers Telecommunications said its network had begun to recover late on Friday after a 19-hour service outage at one of Canada’s largest telecoms operators shut down banking, transportation and government access for millions. adds criticisms of customers and industry dominance.
Almost every aspect of life was disrupted, with outages affecting internet, mobile and landline connections. Canadian police said some callers were unable to reach emergency services with their 911 calls.
Canadians still flocked to cafes and public libraries with Internet access and stood outside hotels to catch a signal. Canada’s border services agency said the outage affected its mobile app for arriving travelers. Retailers’ cashless payment systems are down; banks said there are problems with ATM services.
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Rogers (RCIb.TO) In a statement on Twitter, “our wireless services are beginning to recover” and staff are working to get people back online as soon as possible.
In a separate place statement on its website, Rogers president and CEO Tony Staffieri apologized for the outage, saying: “We let you down today. We can and will do better.”
He added that the company does not have a timetable for when networks will be fully restored, “but we will continue to share information with our customers as we restore full services.”
He said a credit would be applied to affected customers.
Marco Mendicino, a spokesman for the Minister of Public Security, said Friday evening that the outage was not the result of a cyber attack.
Rogers shares closed down 73 cents at C$61.54 ($47.53) on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The disruption also complicated transportation and flight bookings during the height of the summer travel season.
So far, Transport Canada has not received information about any direct safety or security impacts to any flights, marine or rail services as part of these outages, according to spokesperson Sau Liu.
The interception was Rogers’ second in 15 months. Monitoring group NetBlocks said it began at 4:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) and knocked out a quarter of Canada’s monitored internet connectivity.
With approximately 10 million wireless subscribers and 2.25 million retail Internet subscribers, Rogers is the top provider in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province and largest city, Toronto. Rogers, BCE Inc (BCE.TO) and Telus Corp. (T.TO) It controls 90% of the market share in Canada.
Canada’s Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne called the situation “unacceptable” in a tweet and said he was reaching out to telecom majors including Rogers, Bell and Telus to find a solution.
Canadian financial institutions and banks, including Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), said the outage disrupted services. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) said its ATMs and online banking services were affected.
A spokeswoman for Vancouver International Airport, one of Canada’s busiest, said travelers will not be able to pay for parking, use terminal ATMs or purchase items from airport retail outlets.
Air Canada (AC.TO), the country’s largest airline, said its call center was affected. Airlines in Canada, like those in Europe and the United States, are experiencing high call volumes amid flight cancellations and delays due to pandemic staffing shortages. read more
Pop star The Weeknd announced Thursday that his tour stop at the Rogers Center stadium has been postponed due to a service outage affecting the venue’s operations.
“Devastated and heartbroken. Been at the venue all day but due to Rogers cut it’s out of our hands,” the singer tweeted.
Critics said the cut demonstrated the need for more competition in the telecommunications industry.
Earlier this year, Canada’s competition bureau blocked Rogers’ takeover bid for rival Shaw Communications. (SJRb.TO) It said a C$20 billion deal would hamper competition in a country where telecom tariffs are among the world’s highest. The merger is still awaiting a final decision. read more
“Today’s outage shows the need for more independent competition, which will lead to more network investment, so outages are less likely,” said Anthony Lacavera, managing director of investment firm Globealive, which bid for the wireless provider involved in the Rogers/Shaw deal. .
On Friday, some government agencies suspended services, including Canada’s passport offices and the telecommunications regulator, after they lost internet access. The Canada Revenue Agency, the country’s tax collection agency, lost phone service.
“CASH WILL BE KING”
Stores and restaurants in Toronto post “Cash Only” signs on their doors. Residents flocked to and around a nearby Starbucks coffee shop, which offered free Wi-Fi on a dead network.
“Tons of people here with laptops are working wildly like they are at home because there’s no service at home,” said Ken Rosenstein, a Starbucks customer.
Cafes including a Tim Hortons in downtown Ottawa, Canada, did not accept debit or credit cards and turned away customers without cash.
Retail Council of Canada spokeswoman Michelle Vasilishen said the cuts will vary from retailer to retailer: “Cash is definitely going to be king in many stores today.”
Although the outages were widespread, several companies and transport hubs said their services were not affected. The Port of Montreal reported no disruptions. The Calgary Airport Authority said it had “no major operational impact.”
($1 = $1.2948 Canadian dollars)
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Reporting by Yuvraj Malik, Eva Mathews, 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 Ganguly, Jonathan Oatis, David Gregorio and Leslie Adler & Shri Navaratnam
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