Canada: Huge telecom outage prompts calls for network redundancy

Telecom tower in a sharp white bubble
Image credit: Phil Siarri

On Friday July 8, a massive telecom outage occurred in Canada. Throughout the country, Rogers users reported service interruption starting early in the morning. Though the network has been doing much better on Friday evening, some customers are still experiencing spotty service today. The company’s leadership pointed to a faulty “maintenance update” as the root cause of the problem.

Unlike other events of the same nature, this outage affected all kinds of product offerings: landlines, residential/business internet, cellphone service (including calls, text as well as mobile data).

Similar to other countries’, Canada’s telecom industry is highly concentrated with three national companies dominating the market: Bell, Telus and you’ve guessed it… Rogers. That situation is unlikely to change in the near future…

Here are some of the services affected by the outage:

  • 911 (emergency) calls.
  • Many government agencies’ customer support.
  • Interac (Canada’s own debit card system).
  • IoT devices such as smart locks and doorbells.
  • On demand services such as ride hailing and food delivery.

Obviously, many individuals were negatively impacted by such; especially customers with product “bundles”.

Whether you like it or not, technology breaks from time to time. This won’t be the last major service disruption from a major telecom player. One thing to lower the impact of outages is to improve network redundancy (aka adding a backup network to one’s offering). Today Interac confirmed it plans to do just that (as per a Reuters report): “We are adding a supplier [besides Rogers] to strengthen our existing network redundancy so Canadians can continue to rely on Interac daily,”.

Expect other organizations to follow suit.

This story was first published on The PhilaVerse (my Substack newsletter).

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Phil Siarri

Phil Siarri

Founder of Nuadox | Tech & Innovation Commentator | Digital Strategist | MTL | More about me> psiarri.xyz