2022 Rogers Outage
On July 8th, the nationwide Rogers Outage caused over 12 million to go without service for multiple days. Here’s how it happened and all the issues that it caused.
Rogers is a Canadian telecommunications and media company. It operates primarily in the field of wireless communications, cable television, telephone, and Internet connectivity services. Rogers is headquartered in Toronto, with offices across Canada.
Rogers offers a wide range of products and services for both residential and business customers. In addition to these core offerings, Rogers also provides a number of value-added services such as Rogers One Number. This is a cloud-based service that allows customers to use their Rogers mobile number to make and receive calls and texts on their tablets and computers.
Rogers Internet Outage: 12 million without service
There are generally two reasons behind outages of this magnitude. The first is a cyber-attack and the second is an internal error. However, the Rogers Internet Outage was caused by a malfunction that originated from within their system.
Around 8am on July 8th, Cloudflare recorded a spike of BGP updates. To be brief, a BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) is a way to exchange routing information between networks on the Internet. Without them, information would not know how to transit. This spike caused other networks were unable to receive or register any information transiting on the Rogers network.
Around 6PM, Cloudflare reported a 3% increase in traffic, however, it quickly crashed back down. At this point, the Senior Vice President of Rogers stated that the cause had not yet been identified.
Over the night between the 8th and the 9th, the Rogers network slowly started to come back in service. By 9 am the activity levels were climbing back not normal rates.
Although we are still waiting for a detailed explanation, Rogers has stated that the outage was caused by a system update malfunction. The update was done on a critical part of the system and that is why it caused a nationwide system shutdown.
Who was affected?
Many different parties were affected by this outage. Generally, when Rogers comes to mind most immediately think of consumers who use Rogers Mobile, however, these were not the only people who were affected. Large financial institutions, retailers, government agencies and clients of other providers were also severely penalized by this outage.
Interac provides customers of Canadian banks the ability to send money and receive E-transfers via their emails and phone numbers. However, during the outage, multiple banks reported that their clients were unable to proceed with these transactions.
BMO and RBC also stated that many of their clients were not able to make ATM withdraws, use their online banking services, call toll-free numbers,
Most retailers were also severely penalized by the 2022 Rogers outage. During this period, retailers using the Rogers network could not process any transactions made by credit or debit card. Other stores were also unable to process transactions made by Interac.
As many have realized, since the Covid-19 pandemic, carrying cash has become uncommon. Over the past 2 years, consumers have been encouraged to only use their cards for transactions, so this left many stranded on the 8th of July.
Many small businesses have reported thousand-dollar losses for their sales on that single day. Some have even said that they saw their online purchases decrease by 50%.
The rare coffee shops that were not Rogers customers were flooded with clients searching for an internet connection to continue their work day. Some Starbucks’ had people lining up and sitting in their cars to be able to get some work done. Once again, since the pandemic, many Canadians work remotely so this outage left them completely helpless and unable to contact their coworkers. Internet connection is a crucial part of all our lives now more than ever.
Many government agencies were greatly affected by this outage. For many weeks now, passport offices have been seeing incredible lines that have forced Canadians to camp overnight to ensure they receive their documents before their departure dates. This outage caused them to have issues with their customer service phone lines and their service points.
Other affected services were: Revenue Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada and Service Canada.
Being one of the leading network providers, Rogers also owns Fido. Unfortunately, these clients were not spared and also went without service for several hours.
Rogers’ pool crisis management
Rogers’ CEO responded to the crisis by issuing an apology to customers.
“I want to sincerely apologize to our customers for the interruption in service last week. We know how important our services are to our customers and we take full responsibility for this outage,” Joe Natale said in a statement.
“We know that we have to do better and we will.”
Natale said Rogers is currently working on a “comprehensive review” of its systems and processes to prevent outages from happening in the future. Along with their formal apology, both Fido and Rogers customers will automatically receive a 5 day credit. For many, this amount does not make up for the significant inconvenience that they experienced. As mentioned previously, many small businesses lost a significant amount of sales. The 5 day credit will barely cover those amounts and many are extremely disappointed by Rogers.
Many are beginning to boycott the large corporation by switching to Bell or other network providers. Some have even gone as far as filing lawsuits. A Quebec resident has officially filed a class action against Rogers Canada. The individual is demanding 400$ in reparations for every person that was penalized by the outage…And this will surely not be the only lawsuit.
The government’s response
Following the 2022 Rogers outage, many have raised the topic of the Canadian Telecom Oligopoly. There are less than 5 large telecommunication companies that control the majority of the Canadian networks and in cases of outages or system malfunctions, this can be extremely problematic.
The Canadian government is asking Rogers Communications to do a better job of communicating with its customers during major outages, such as the one that left many Rogers wireless customers without service last week. In a letter to Rogers CEO Joe Natale, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains said the government is “concerned” about the way the company has handled outages in the past.
“While we understand that no company can be immune to technical problems, we expect all companies operating in Canada to have systems and processes in place to minimize consumer inconvenience and ensure effective communications in the event of an outage,” Bains wrote.
Bains noted that last week’s outage was “particularly disruptive” because it affected Rogers’ three main networks: wireless, internet and TV. He said the government is “encouraging” Rogers to review its systems and processes to make sure customers are better informed in the event of an outage.
“We would also encourage Rogers to engage with its customers and other stakeholders, such as provincial governments and public safety officials, to ensure that its communications plans are comprehensive and responsive to customer needs,” Bains wrote. The minister said the government is “committed” to working with the telecom industry to make sure Canadians have access to “reliable and affordable” communications services.
The Minister has asked the companies to come to some sort of agreement to provide one another with assistance in such scenarios, to make sure customers have access to emergency roaming at all times. They were also asked to implement a communications protocol for handling issues like these. This would include more frequent and thorough public updates.
Executives will have 60 business days to meet the above terms, which Champagne called “a first step” to changing the industry in Canada.
Rogers Service Outage: What the CRTC had to say
The CRTC is demanding that rogers gives a full account of the Rogers service outage within five business days. They also want a description of what caused it and what’s being done to fix the problem. Furthermore, they wish to know how Rogers will prevent future outages. The CRTC is also demanding that rogers provide details on how customers can be compensated for the inconvenience caused by the outage.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is taking this issue very seriously and is investigating the matter fully. They are working to ensure that Rogers takes responsibility for the outage and makes changes to prevent similar situations from happening in the future.
To conclude, the outage caused by Rogers was a major issue for many businesses in Canada. The cost of the outage was estimated to be $100 million, but it could have been much worse. Thankfully, the hardware failure was caught relatively quickly and services were able to be restored. Despite this, the Rogers Outage should serve as a reminder of how important it is to have a backup plan for when things go wrong. No business or individual is immune to outages and everyone should have a plan. It will ensure that they can weather the storm.
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