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Dow Jones Newswires: Canadian regulator demands responses from Rogers about internet, wireless outage

OTTAWA — Canada’s telecommunications regulator on Tuesday ordered Rogers Communications Inc.
RCI,
+2.48%

RCI.B,
+2.62%

to provide details before the end of the month about how and why the company’s wireless and internet networks crashed for nearly a day before service was largely restored.

The outage unfolded last Friday, disrupting banking services and debit- and credit-card transactions across the country, and leaving millions of Canadians without phone, TV or internet service. Service was largely restored the next day, and the Toronto-based company attributed the outage to an equipment upgrade that went awry.

“In the first several hours of the outage, it became clear that Rogers was either unable to reassure, or ineffective in reassuring, its customers and providing critical information about what to expect,” the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission said in a letter to Rogers, which the regulator released Tuesday. “Few details regarding the outage were provided on either the company’s webpage or its social media accounts.”

Rogers provided an explanation regarding the cause of the outage on mid-Saturday afternoon, or roughly 36 hours after customers started to report widespread problems with the network.

A Rogers spokeswoman said Tuesday the company was committed “to working alongside the government and regulators to improve network resilience for all Canadians.”

The letter added that events of this magnitude, which paralyze key components of everyday life, are “simply unacceptable,” and the regulator must learn what happened in the lead up and aftermath of the service outage, and what steps Rogers is taking to prevent future network failures.

The CRTC gave Rogers until July 22 to respond.

Rogers Chief Executive Tony Staffieri issued an apology to customers after large chunks of service were restored. “We know how much our customers rely on our networks and I sincerely apologize. … I take full responsibility for ensuring we at Rogers earn back your full trust.”

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