Rogers CEO apologizes after Canada outage; services restored

A person looks at their cell phone displaying a Rogers service interruption alert Friday, July 8, 2022, in Montreal. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) — The chief executive officer of Rogers Communications Inc. has apologized for a outage that disrupted mobile and internet service across Canada.

“We know how much our customers rely on our networks and I sincerely apologize,” Tony Staffieri said in a statement Saturday. “We’re particularly troubled that some customers could not reach emergency services and we are addressing the issue as an urgent priority.”

Staffieri said services have been restored and were close to fully operational.

“We now believe we’ve narrowed the cause to a network system failure following a maintenance update in our core network, which caused some of our routers to malfunction early Friday morning,” said Staffieri. “We disconnected the specific equipment and redirected traffic, which allowed our network and services to come back online over time as we managed traffic volumes returning to normal levels.”

The widespread disruption, which got underway early Friday morning and stretched into the evening, paralyzed communications across sectors including health care, law enforcement and the financial industry. Many 911 services couldn’t receive incoming calls, several hospitals reported impacts to their services, and debit transactions were paused when Interac was knocked offline.

Richard Leblanc, a professor of Governance, Law and Ethics at Toronto’s York University, said the outage showed how vulnerable Canadian industry, financial institutions and health care systems are to an attack on a telecom provider.

“This could have been catastrophic for the country if this was a threat actor,” he said in a telephone interview.

It was the second significant outage for Rogers in the last 15 months.

According to Netblocks, a United Kingdom based organization that monitors cybersecurity, the outage knocked out around 25% of Canada’s observable internet connectivity at its peak.

Rogers said it will proactively credit customers for the outage but provided no details about the amount.