Canada back online after outage
A major network outage at one of Canada’s largest telecommunications carriers is beginning to ease, with Rogers Telecommunications saying its network is beginning to recover after a widespread 7 p.m. loss of service.
The outage shut down access to banking, transportation and government for millions of Canadians, sparking outrage from customers and adding to criticism of Rogers’ dominance in the industry.
Almost every facet of life has been disrupted, police across Canada said, with some people unable to reach emergency services via 911 calls.
The Canada Border Services Agency said the outage affected its mobile app for inbound travellers, while retailers’ cashless payment systems were down and banks reported problems with ATM services.
Rogers said in a statement on Twitter, “Our wireless services are beginning to recover,” with workers trying to get people back online as quickly as possible.
In a separate statement on his website, Rogers Chairman and CEO Tony Staffieri apologized for the outage, saying, “Today we let you down. We can and will do better”.
He added that the company did not have a timetable for the full restoration of the networks.
A representative of Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino said Friday that the outage was not the result of a cyberattack.
According to spokeswoman Sau Sau Liu, Transport Canada has not received any reports of direct impacts to the safety or security of flights, marine or rail services from the outage.
The hiatus was Rogers’ second in 15 months. It began around 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time (6:30 p.m. AEST) and cut off a quarter of Canada’s observable internet connectivity, monitoring group NetBlocks said.
With approximately 10 million wireless subscribers and 2.25 million retail Internet subscribers, Rogers is the leading provider in Ontario.
Rogers, BCE and Telus control 90% of the market share in Canada.
Canadian financial institutions and banks, including the Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Montreal, said the outage disrupted services. Royal Bank of Canada said its ATMs and online banking services were affected.
An official at Vancouver International Airport, one of Canada’s busiest, said travelers could not pay for parking, use terminal ATMs or purchase items from retailers.
Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, said its call center was affected.
Pop star The Weeknd announced on Friday night that his opening tour stop at Rogers Center stadium had been postponed.
“I am crushed and heartbroken. I’ve been there all day but it’s not up to us because of the Rogers outage,” the singer wrote in a tweet.
Critics said the outage demonstrated a need for more competition in telecommunications.
Earlier this year, Canada’s competition bureau blocked Rogers’ attempt to take over rival Shaw Communications in a C$20 billion (A$22.5 billion) deal, saying it would hamper competition in a country where telecommunications prices are among the highest in the world. The merger is still awaiting a final verdict.
“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. .
On Friday, some government agencies canceled services after losing internet access, including Canada’s passport offices and the telecommunications regulator.
The Canada Revenue Agency, the country’s tax collection agency, lost telephone service.
While disruptions were widespread, several businesses and transportation outlets said their services were unaffected.
The Port of Montreal reported no disruptions. The Calgary Airport Authority said it had “no major operational impact”.