Rogers network outage across Canada affects banks, businesses and consumers

A general view of Rogers Communications’ quarter Rogers Building in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on October 22, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

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TORONTO, July 8 (Reuters) – Rogers Communications Inc’s big crash (RCIb.TO) Mobile and internet networks caused widespread disruption across Canada on Friday, affecting banks, police, emergency services and customers in the second outage of one of the country’s largest telecommunications providers in 15 months.

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

“We are currently experiencing outages across our wireline 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 will add to competition concerns in a field dominated by Rogers.

With approximately 10 million wireless subscribers and 2.25 million retail Internet subscribers, the company is a leading service provider in Ontario and is a joint venture with BCE Inc. (BCE.TO) and Telus Corp (T.TO)Controls 90% market share in Canada.

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 highest in the world. 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.

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Downdetector, which aggregates status reports from multiple sources and tracks outages, showed reports of outages as early as 4:30 a.m. ET, reaching more than 20,000 users by 7 a.m. ET. By 11.30 am it had dropped to 8,000.

The nationwide outage resulted in some callers having difficulty reaching emergency services with 911 calls, police across Canada said, including in its largest cities, Ottawa and Toronto.

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

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

Canada’s Industry Minister Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne said his team is 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 direct and clear communication to those affected,” he tweeted.

No credit, just cash

It was the second major outage for Rogers in more than a year. In April last year, thousands of its customers reported disruptions to wireless voice and data services for several hours before the company was able to restore full operations on its network.

In downtown Ottawa on Friday, cafes including Tim Hortons did not accept debit and credit cards and turned away customers without cash. Tim Hortons did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the impact on its business.

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Toronto residents have flocked to and around a midtown Starbucks coffee shop, offering free Wi-Fi on a blackout-proof network.

“There are tons of people here working hard with their laptops and it’s like they’re at home because they don’t have any service at home,” said customer Ken Rosenstein.

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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; Written by Ankur Banerjee; Editing by Shinjini Ganguly

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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