Outside firm reviewing 2022 Rogers outage at CRTC’s request. What we know – National

Canada’s telecom regulator says it will release a report being carried out by an external company into the 2022 Rogers outage “in due course.”

A spokesperson with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) told Global News Thursday that engineering consulting firm Xona Partners is carrying out the review.

“The CRTC is continuing its investigation into the widespread outage that affected Rogers Communications’ network in July 2022,” they said.

“The consulting firm’s review is still ongoing. The CRTC will review the firm’s findings and release the report to inform Canadians in due course.”

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The spokesperson added they expect to receive the report around the end of October.

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In July 2022, a major Rogers network outage left more than 12 million mobile and internet customers without service for upwards of 15 hours. The outage impacted not only Canadians working from home, but also Interac payments, health care and law enforcement.

Rogers has said the outage was due to a network system failure after a maintenance outage, but nevertheless, it placed a spotlight on the vulnerability of Canada’s internet and cellphone network, which is dominated by three major players.

In the immediate aftermath, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne gave Rogers and other major telecommunications companies 60 days to come up with a joint crisis plan in case of future outages.

People sit outside the Rogers Centre after The Weeknd’s Toronto show is postponed amid telecommunication company Rogers’ service trouble, Friday, July 8, 2022.

Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

The companies signed a formal agreement that ensures emergency roaming, mutual assistance and a communications protocol for advising the public and government during such outages.

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Under that pact, companies have been required since September to provide support to one another when experiencing outages so that Canadians can still place calls, access 911 and conduct business transactions.

Since February, the CRTC has required telecoms to notify it within two hours when they experience a network outage. At the time, it also announced its intention to hire an independent firm to investigate the matter.

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According to the contract offer, the hired firm would be asked to “assist in analyzing and assessing Rogers’ wireless and wireline telecommunications networks for resiliency in all aspects related to the July 8, 2022 outage and evaluating the changes proposed by Rogers in response to this network outage to preventing future outages.”

Along with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, the CRTC plans to commission a report on reliability and resiliency measures employed by telecommunications regulators internationally to prevent service outages.

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“Xona Partners is evaluating the measures Rogers has taken to improve the reliability of its network,” the CRTC spokesperson said Thursday.

“The CRTC is also continuing to work on a framework to improve network reliability across Canada given its critical role in a healthy telecommunications system.”

People use electronics outside a coffee shop in Toronto amid a nationwide Rogers outage, affecting many of the telecommunication company’s services, Friday, July 8, 2022.

Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

For its part, Rogers spokesperson Zac Carreiro told Global News in an email the company has taken multiple steps to improve its infrastructure, including partnering with Cisco to improve network resiliency and introducing AI-based “predictive simulation capabilities” to strengthen testing and monitoring.

“Customers rely on our networks every day and we remain focused on delivering the highest level of network resiliency for Canadians,” Carreiro said.

“Since last summer, we completed a full review of our network to continue strengthening resiliency and have implemented several enhancements and safeguards. We will continue to work with the CRTC to ensure Canadians have access to reliable telecommunication services and timely information.”

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The CRTC has said it expects to launch additional consultations to improve network resiliency, access to emergency services, consumer communication and compensation, the impact of outages on accessibility services and the imposition of penalties on service providers.

— with files from The Canadian Press

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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