Canada: Internet Outage was caused by ‘Maintenance’

Rogers is the mobile carrier for almost 11 million people in Canada. One of Canada’s most extensive mobile and internet providers, Rogers, has apologized for the nationwide outage of its services which started on Friday.

The company’s CEO Tony Staffieri said the failure observed “a maintenance update in our core network.”

Transport, banking, and emergency services were all struck by Friday’s blackout, with 911 hotlines and bank ATMs left unavailable.

Canadians were herded to coffee shops and libraries to locate a connection.

The service outage began at 04:30 local time (08:30 GMT) on Friday and lasted for more than 15 hours, but most services have now been restored.

Mr. Staffieri said the maintenance work “caused some of our routers to malfunction early Friday morning.”

The outage significantly affected a wide range of services across Canada, reminding society how reliant society has evolved on modern communications.

Many 911 services conveyed difficulties with incoming calls, and hospitals asked on-call staff to come to work until the issue was resolved.

One mother, Lara Morgan, described how she struggled to contact emergency services after her son was injured in a rugby game with a suspected spinal injury.

Speaking to the Globe and Mail newspaper, she said she eventually found someone with a non-Rogers mobile phone to call 911, only to discover that ambulance services also relied on the Rogers network and were having difficulties dispatching paramedics. Her son eventually made it to the hospital and was not severely injured.

In a statement, Mr. Staffieri expressed the company was “particularly troubled that some customers could not reach emergency services.”

The outage also forced some events to be canceled, including the Toronto tour date of Canadian singer The Weeknd. The gig was going to take place at the residence of the Toronto Blue Jays, which Rogers Communications owns.

In Quebec province, a Montreal court had to delay a trial hearing for disgraced fashion mogul Peter Nygard after jail officials could not connect him to a videoconference system.

Critics say the outage demonstrated a need for more competition in the Canadian telecoms sector.

Three companies – Rogers, BCE Inc, and Telus Corp – control 90% of the market share in Canada.

Rogers alone is the mobile carrier of nearly 11 million Canadians, with a stake in everything from hockey to cable television.

Rogers Communications Inc. is a Canadian communications and media company operating primarily in wireless communications, cable television, telephony, and Internet, with substantial additional telecommunications and mass media assets. Rogers has its headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. The company outlined its origins in 1925 when Edward S. Rogers Sr. founded Rogers Vacuum Tube Company to sell battery-less radios, although this present enterprise dates to 1960. It was when Ted Rogers and a partner received the CHFI-FM radio station; they then became part-owners of a group that designated the CFTO television station.

The chief competitor to Rogers is Bell Canada, which has a similarly extensive portfolio of radio and television media assets and wireless, television distribution, and telephone services, particularly in Eastern and Central Canada. The two companies often have a duopoly on communications services in their regions, and both own a stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. In addition, Rogers competes nationally with Telus for wireless services and indirectly with Shaw Communications for television service.

Rogers Communications Inc. unveiled its new logo on January 17, 2000, marking the departure of its original logo.

In July 2001, Rogers Media acquired CTV Sportsnet, renamed Rogers Sportsnet that November. The FAN 590 sports radio station also joined Rogers Media in August 2001, along with 14 Northern Ontario radio stations.

In the fall of 2004, many strategic transactions were executed that significantly increased Rogers’s exposure to the potential of the Canadian wireless market. Rogers acquired 34% of Rogers Wireless, owned by AT&T Wireless Services Inc., for $1.77 billion.

In 2012, Rogers Cable filed a complaint in an Ontario court against penalties levied under a ‘Truth in Advertising’ law, claiming that the amount of the sentences, and the requirements imposed by the law, disregarded the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The company also had to recognize the rising market trend of customers canceling or preceding cable television service subscriptions in favor of cheaper-priced alternate content delivery means. It is like streaming media services like Netflix, a demographic called “cord-cutters” and “cord never.” In response, Rogers acquired content with a speculated cost of $100 million to begin their own competing online streaming service, Shomi, much like the American Hulu Plus, which launched November 4, 2014. Unfortunately, Shomi shut down after only two years of operation on November 30, 2016.

In the summer of 2014, Rogers reported a 24% drop in profit compared to the previous year’s second quarter.

On March 15, 2021, Rogers announced its intent to acquire Shaw Communications for $26 billion, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval. Public lobby groups criticized this proposed acquisition like Open Media as a move that would reduce national competition in Canadian wireless communication by removing one of the four major competitors from the market.

On September 29, chief financial officer Tony Staffieri left the company. On October 8, The Globe and Mail reported that this came about following Edward Rogers’ attempt to have Staffieri replace Joe Natale, a former Telus executive and the company’s third CEO since Ted Rogers’ death in 2008. Edward’s mother and sisters opposed this attempt. As a result, Edward Rogers was removed as chairman of the board while remaining a board member on October 21. However, a proposal to remove Edward as chair of the Rogers Control Trust, which holds the majority voting interest in Rogers Communications on behalf of the family, did not receive sufficient support from other members of the trust’s advisory committee.