Massive network outage in Canada hits homes, ATMs and 911 emergency lines | Canada
A major mobile and internet network outage caused widespread disruption across Canada on Friday, affecting banks, police hotlines and customers in the second outage to hit one of the largest providers of telecommunications of the country in 15 months.
Customers flocked to cafes and public libraries to access alternative networks, while financial institutions reported problems with everything from automated machines to cashless payment systems.
Rogers Communications said its technical teams are working to restore services as quickly as possible.
The outage is likely to add to concerns about competition in the industry dominated by Rogers.
The company, which has approximately 10 million wireless subscribers and 2.25 million retail Internet subscribers, is the leading service provider in Ontario and, along with BCE and Telus, controls 90% of the market share in Canada.
Earlier this year, Canada’s competition bureau blocked Rogers’ bid to take over rival Shaw Communications in a C$20 billion deal, saying it would stifle competition in a country where tariffs telecommunications are among the highest in the world.
“Today’s outage illustrates the need for more independent competition which will drive more investment in the network, so outages are much less likely,” said Anthony Lacavera, chief executive of Globealive, a company investment company that had bid for a wireless service provider involved in the Rogers/Shaw deal. .
Downdetector, which tracks outages by collating status reports from a number of sources, showed outage reports as of 4:30 a.m. ET, hitting more than 20,000 users by 7 a.m. ET. Reports dropped to around 8,000 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
The nationwide outage has made it difficult for some callers to reach emergency services via 911 calls, police across Canada, including Ottawa and Toronto, its largest city, said.
Interac, which operates an email money transfer service used by several Canadian banks, said the outage affected its services. The Toronto-Dominion Bank said it was experiencing system issues with the Interac e-Transfer service.
Bank of Montreal said the outage affected financial institutions, toll-free numbers as well as transactions, while Royal Bank of Canada said its ATMs and online banking services were affected.
Canadian Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said his team was in contact with the company.
“We have expressed how important it is that this matter be resolved as soon as possible and that the company provide prompt and clear communication directly to those affected,” he tweeted.
It was the second major outage for Rogers in just over a year. In April last year, thousands of its customers reported intermittent outages in wireless voice and data services for several hours before the company was able to restore full network operation.
On Friday in downtown Ottawa, cafes including Tim Hortons were not accepting debit and credit cards and turning away customers who did not have cash. Tim Hortons did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the impact on its business.
Toronto residents crowded in and around a downtown Starbucks cafe offering free Wi-Fi on a network unaffected by the outage.
“There are tons of people here with their laptops working ferociously, like they would at home, because they have no service at home,” said customer Ken Rosenstein.