Rogers outage: 4 things you need to know on day 4

Businesses and residents across the country were forced offline Friday after a Rogers service outage cut connections to cell and internet services.

Canadians were unable to make debit transactions or call emergency services until service was mostly restored that evening. The next day, the Toronto-based telecommunications giant attributed the outage to “a network system failure following a maintenance update,” echoing statements from Rogers’ last major disruption in April 2021.

While Rogers promised customers credit for the outage and prompted a meeting with telecom executives in Ottawa on Monday, service is still shaky in some pockets of the country.

Here’s what you need to know four days in:

Service outages are not over for everyone

Rogers’ customer service said in a statement Saturday that service had returned for the “vast majority” of Canadians.

Customers in Oshawa still reported issues with Wi-Fi and cell service on Monday. Ookla’s service tracker Downdetector.ca reported a spike in service issues Monday morning. More than half of complaints were about Wi-Fi connection issues and 14 per cent still said they were in total blackout.

Rogers replied to several Canadians on Twitter that teams are still working to “ensure that the remaining customers are back online.”

Other posts ask customers with lingering issues to message the company’s customer service account @RogersHelps on Twitter.

Rogers executives meet with federal minister

Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri and other industry executives were called to meet with the federal science, innovation and industry minister François-Philippe Champagne virtually on Monday.

Alexander Wellstead, a spokesperson for the minister, wrote about the reason for the meeting in a written statement Sunday afternoon.

“The minister will be meeting with the CEOs of Rogers, and other major telecom companies, to discuss how important it is to improve the reliability of the networks across Canada,” Wellstead said.

Rogers was the only one of Canada’s three biggest telecommunications services to confirm it would attend the meeting.

Rogers will reimburse customers

The outage affected debit transactions and point of sale machines across the country on Friday, forcing businesses to turn to cash until service was restored.

Staffieri said in an open letter on Saturday customers’ accounts would be automatically credited for the day’s outage.

Meanwhile, the head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said small businesses may have lost thousands of dollars in the service disruption.

Interac runs Canada’s debit network and electronic money transfer system, and processes about 18 million transactions each day. On Saturday, Interac spokesperson Bryan Bossin told reporters the company would add another service provider.

Critics said the communications giant needed to give Canadians more than just a fraction of their monthly Rogers’ payment.

On Saturday, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business Dan Kelly said he hoped customers would be reimbursed for more than just the cost of two days of service, working out to just a few dollars a day.

The telecom company also said customers reported getting fraudulent texts about reimbursement. In a statement Saturday, Rogers’ said they would apply credit to customers’ accounts with no action needed, and asked Canadians not to respond.

Rogers asks customers to forward suspicious text messages to 7726 (SPAM).

Calls for increased competition in Canada’s telecom industry

Rogers is one of Canada’s big three national cellphone carriers, alongside Telus and Bell.

After the nationwide outage cut internet and cell service for millions of Canadians, critics questioned if Canada should have more options for connectivity.

Rogers’ $26 billion takeover of Shaw Communications and Freedom Mobile division still requires regulatory approval.

The Canada Competition Bureau has been trying to block the merger, filing a claim in May the deal would lead to worse service and higher prices for Canadians.

The company met for mediation with the Competition Bureau less than a week before the outage, but did not resolve the bureau’s issues with the deal.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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