Friday July 8, 2022 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC [Last update 11:20 am July 9, 2022]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Resolution: Rogers advised customers late in the evening of Friday July 8 that they have “made meaningful progress” toward bringing their networks back online, and services are starting to return. “We don’t yet have an ETA on when our networks will be fully restored but we will continue to share information with our customers as we restore full service.” They acknowledge their customers having had to go “a full day without connectivity”. See more in the Restoration section, below.
A massive outage of Rogers telecommunications services has happened this morning, July 8.
There is direct impact on their wireless, cable and internet customers across the country. Interac debit and e-transfer services offline.
Fido and Chatr brands are also affected.
Even services not directly controlled by Rogers, such as emergency services, travel and financial networks, are impacted. Retail also affected, meaning people will need cash at the checkout.
Concerns about monopoly:
This brings up concerns about monopoly. It might be one more reason to not allow the proposed merger between Rogers and Shaw.
“So can we all then agree that we shouldn’t be allowing one company to have an on/off switch that affects Interac, 911 services, banks, ATMs, phone lines, cell service and Internet? All those services should never be in position to be affected all at once,” says one voice on Twitter today.
Another contributor on Twitter said: “When the CRTC can’t even use its phones because you own them, it’s time to nationalize.”
Today even the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission phones are down. Hopefully that gives them further thought about spreading out the footprint of wireless and Internet providers in Canada.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said today: “This Rogers outage highlights the dangers of our monopolized industry. Emergency services are inaccessible. Interac and Visa networks are down. These are the consequences of a Liberal government that is fixated on protecting the profits of telecoms giants.”
Connectivity is infrastructure for a modern society, the way that roads and buildings are. “The backbone of telecommunications infrastructure, like roads, should be provided by government as a common service to facilitate trade and expand our ability to connect with each other,” it was stated by BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch in social media during the outage period.
There are even worries about cybersecurity. When networks are down or interrupted, other forces can interfere or intrude.
Alistair MacGregor, MP (Langford-Juan de Fuca) said on Twitter this morning: “Details will be important, and the full story might serve as a catalyst for bringing forward debate on the government’s proposed Bill C-26, An Act respecting cyber security, amending the Telecommunications Act and making consequential amendments to other Acts.”
On June 14, 2022, the House of Commons of Canada introduced Bill C-26, a new cybersecurity bill that will require mandatory reporting of cyberattacks.
Services went down around 6 am Pacific (3 am Eastern), with a wide variety of services impacted. Rogers headquarters is in Vancouver, BC (Pacific time zone).
While this is a Friday in summer, it is no less impactful. Internet, phone and cable has become an integral part of daily living and business infrastructure.
At 12:21 pm (Pacific Daylight Time) Rogers posted a basic update on their RogersHelps Twitter feed: “Our technical teams are working to restore our services alongside our global technology partners, and are making progress.” That’s at least eight hours after services collapsed.
Restoration of service, and offering a credit:
As for restoration of services: Rogers issued a statement late in the evening Friday July 8, saying they have “made meaningful progress towards bringing our networks back online and many of our wireless customers are starting to see services return”. The note from Rogers President Tony Staffieri, President and CEO, continued: “We don’t yet have an ETA on when our networks will be fully restored but we will continue to share information with our customers as we restore full service.”
“We know going a full day without connectivity has real impacts on our customers, and all Canadians,” wrote Staffieri. “On behalf of all of us here at Rogers, Rogers for Business, Fido, chatr and cityfone, I want to sincerely apologize for this service interruption and the impact is is having on people from coast to coast to coast.”
For business customers, the service interruption notice was a bit more detailed, still posted online the next day (July 9):
Two commitments to customers:
The Rogers President and CEO also offered two commitments:
- to work to fully understand the root cause of the outage, and make all necessary changes to “meet and exceed” expectations in the future; and
- to proactively apply a credit to all customers impacted by the outage, as a way to “make this right” for their “valued customers”.
The amount of the customer credit was not specified.
About the Rogers president:
Tony Staffieri was appointed as President and CEO on January 11, 2022 after serving in an interim capacity in that role since November 16, 2021.
“I take full responsibility for ensuring we at Rogers earn back your full trust, and are once again there to connect you to what matters,” said Staffieri in his July 8, 2022 letter to customers.
Rogers outage impacts have been on cell phones, Internet service, and related network-reliant products and services. That impacted individuals, businesses, retail, banking services, and any other persons or operations connected at some level to the Rogers network.
Various posts in social media on July 8 show what’s working and what’s not. That includes:
Canada Border Services Agency regarding travel across borders: “Due to the current Rogers network outage, travellers may not be able to complete their ArriveCAN submission.”
Canadian Blood Services on Vancouver Island — their Tweet says they’re open and blood donors can still give blood.
VanCity says their members will experience issues using their debit cards, ATMs, e-transfers, wire transfers and calling in to telephone banking.
Coast Capital Savings had ATM interruptions. On July 9 they posted that services are back to normal. “Coast Capital members can resume using their debit cards for purchases, and access ATM, e-Transfers and other services.”
BC Automobile Association (BCAA) Tweeted out that they are currently experiencing technical issues with their telephone system. People can instead call 1.877.325.8888 at this time.
Sooke School District 62 (head office in Langford, in the west shore of Greater Victoria) says their network is provided by the Ministry of Education and the underlying provider is TELUS. “The overall impact is minimal to the district,” it was stated by Sooke School District 62 today. They do have some district cell phones that are Rogers, but most staffers have office lines or are now off on summer vacation.
Media on the job:
Island Social Trends has asked Rogers for more technical information about the outage, having at first only been given the same information as posted on the Rogers Twitter feed. Either they don’t know yet, or aren’t ready to make it public. Through the day and evening of July 8, Rogers appears to be sharing their website posts with media, directly by email.
Later today on CTV and CBC TV, tech analyst Steven Lachance will be interviewed about the Rogers outage today, currently being called “an ongoing nationwide Rogers outage”.
CBC had their first article about the Rogers outage posted just after 7 am Eastern Time (4 am Pacific). In a brief interview with one of @Rogers top execs on CBC’s Power and Politics (with Catherine Cullen) this afternoon it sounds at least in part to be a hardware issue (they’re talking with suppliers). Also various fail-safes didn’t work. Sometimes there’s just one weak link.
Media who dial in to government media sessions are unable to do that today, if they have Rogers phones and no alternative means. Listening to the livestream on social media is not the same (doesn’t provide the opportunity to ask a live media question).
When your system is down, do you just take a walk or the day off? Or does your business have a backup plan?
One good way to prevent full interruption is to have services from more than one provider. For example, phone with Rogers but Internet with Shaw or TELUS.
“We are currently experiencing an outage across our wireline and wireless networks and our technical teams are working hard to restore services as quickly as possible,” it was posted on Twitter @Rogers.
Internet monitoring watchdog group Netblocks.org reports that total internet traffic in Canada was at 75 per cent of its normal level on Friday morning.
Apologies offered, but ask for credit:
“On behalf of all of us at Rogers, we sincerely apologize to our customers, and we will continue to keep you updated as we have more information to share, including when we expect service to be back up. Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve this issue.”
Rogers customer service reps are authorized to give a service credit of up to $50. You’ll have to be a bit persistent. In a previous outage, this credit was frequently declined.
UPDATE at 2:45 pm (PDT) on July 8: Rogers will proactively offer credits to their customers. The amount has not been specified.
Same thing last year:
Back on April 19, 2021 there was a similar apology for Rogers service unavailability, due to a technical issue. The impact on people to do business and communicate across their personal networks is in a sense immeasurable.
Indeed, the April 2021 crash was on federal budget day, which impacted the whole political spectrum across Canada that day, and the ability of media to cover it.
Rogers wireless voice & data service outage on budget Monday (April 19, 2021)