- Rogers dominates Canada’s telecommunications industry
- Banking services were suspended and traffic was affected
- The telecom industry has renewed its criticism of competition
TORONTO/OTTAWA, July 8 (Reuters) – Rogers Telecommunications, one of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies, said its network had begun to recover late on Friday after a 19-hour service outage that shut down banking, transportation and government access for millions. It added to the criticism of its industrial dominance.
Internet access, cell phone and landline phone connections are down, disrupting every aspect of life. Police across Canada said some callers were unable to reach emergency services with 911 calls.
Canadians flocked to cafes and public libraries that still had Internet access, and hovered outside hotels to catch the signal. The Canada Border Services Agency said the outage affected the mobile app for incoming travelers. Retailers’ cashless payroll systems collapsed; Banks reported problems with ATM services.
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Rogers (RCIb.TO) In a statement on Twitter, it said “our wireless services are beginning to recover” and that workers are trying to get people back online as soon as possible.
Separately Report On its website, Rogers chairman and CEO Tony Staffieri apologized for the outage: “We let you down today. We can do better.”
The company does not have a timeline for when networks will be fully restored, he added, “but we will continue to share information with our customers as we restore full services.”
He said that the affected customers will be given loans.
A spokesman for Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino 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 made transportation and flight bookings more difficult during the peak summer travel season.
Transport Canada has not yet received reports of direct safety or security impacts to any aircraft, marine or rail services as part of the outage, said spokesperson Chau Liu.
Rodgers’ second interception in 15 months. It began at 4:30 am ET (0830 GMT) and knocked out a quarter of Canada’s visible Internet connectivity, according to the NetBlocks monitoring group.
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 home to its largest city, Toronto. Rogers, BCE Inc (BCE.TO) and Telus Corp (T.TO) Controls 90% market share in Canada.
Canadian Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne called the situation “unacceptable” in a tweet and said he would work with telecom CEOs 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 services were affected by the outage. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) It said its ATMs and online banking services were affected.
A spokeswoman for Canada’s busiest Vancouver International Airport says passengers will not be able to pay for parking, use terminal ATMs or buy goods at airport retailers.
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 staff shortages. read more
On Friday evening, pop star The Weeknd announced he would be stopping his tour at Rogers Center Stadium.
“I’m devastated & heartbroken. Been at the place all day, but it’s out of our hands because of Rogers’ breakdown,” the singer wrote in a tweet.
Critics said the outage demonstrated the need for more competition in the telecommunications industry.
Earlier this year, Canada’s Competition Bureau blocked Rogers’ bid to take over rival Shaw Communications. (SJRb.TO) The C$20 billion deal will stifle competition in a country where telecommunications tariffs are among the world’s highest. The merger is still awaiting a final verdict. read more
“Today’s outage illustrates the need for freer competition to drive more network investment,” said Anthony LaCavera, managing director of Globealive, the investment firm that bid for the wireless provider involved in the Rogers/Shaw deal.
On Friday, some government agencies that lost internet access, including Canada’s passport offices and the telecommunications regulator, suspended services. Canada Revenue Agency, the country’s tax collection agency, lost phone service.
‘Cash is king’
Shops and restaurants in Toronto put “cash only” signs on their doors. Residents flocked to and around a nearby Starbucks coffee shop, which offered free Wi-Fi on the unaffected network.
“There are tons of people here working with their laptops, like they’re at home because they don’t have any service at home,” said Starbucks customer Ken Rosenstein.
In Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, cafes including Tim Hortons don’t accept debit and credit cards and turn away customers without cash.
“Cash is definitely king in many stores today,” said Michelle Vasilishen, spokeswoman for the Retail Council of Canada.
Although the disruption was widespread, several companies and transit points said their services were not affected. The Port of Montreal reported no disruptions. The Calgary Airport Authority said there were “no major operational impacts.”
($1 = 1.2948 Canadian dollars)
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Reporting by Yuvraj Malik, Eva Mathews, Shubham Kalia and Maria Ponnejad in Bangalore; Catherine Jackson in Washington; Divya Rajagopal and Chris Hellgren in Toronto; Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; By Rami Ayyub, Aurora Ellis and Christian Schmollinger; Editing by Shinjini Ganguly, Jonathan Otis, David Gregorio and Leslie Adler & Sri Navaratnam
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