A huge outage of mobile and internet networks caused extensive delays across Canada on Friday, affecting banks, police emergency lines, and customers in the country’s second outage in 15 months.
Customers congregated in coffee shops and public libraries to access alternative networks, while financial institutions reported issues with everything from automated devices to cashless payment systems. According to Rogers Communications, its technical staff are trying to restore services as soon as feasible.
The interruption is likely to exacerbate concerns about competition in the Rogers-dominated business.
The corporation, which has over 10 million wireless users and 2.25 million retail internet subscribers, is the top service provider in Ontario and owns 90 percent of the market share in Canada, together with BCE and Telus.
Earlier this year, Canada’s competition bureau banned Rogers’ attempt to acquire rival Shaw Communications in a C$20 billion deal, claiming it would stifle competition in a country with some of the highest cellular rates in the world.
It started at about 4:30 ET (08:30 GMT). Internet watchdog group NetBlocks estimates that by Friday morning, internet traffic had decreased to about 75% of its typical level.
Nearly 11 million Canadians use Rogers as their cell phone provider, and the company has a stake in everything from cable TV to hockey.
Despite being “completely operational,” Toronto’s police department reported that some mobile phone customers were having problems dialling the emergency services. The force advised individuals to stay on the line for as long as possible if it connects and to call back if it doesn’t. If your call is unsuccessful, please try again or call from a landline or cell phone with a different carrier, the Ottawa police tweeted.
The Scarborough Health Network, which runs hospitals in Toronto, has requested its on-call medical staff to report to work until the situation is handled. After jail staff were unable to connect disgraced fashion magnate Peter Nygard to a videoconference system, a court hearing for him in Montreal, Quebec, was postponed.
People have flocked to cafes and other locations with working Wi-Fi in urban areas. One Starbucks patron in Toronto told Reuters that “there are tonnes of people here with their laptops just working away viciously, the same as they would at home, because they’ve got no service there.”
The vice-president of Rogers told CBC on Friday that the business was still attempting to determine the “root cause” of the problem.
Kye Prigg stated, “As of right moment, we don’t have an ETA on when the problem will be rectified. He also declined to speculate on whether cyberhackers might be to blame, saying, “I wouldn’t like to say if it’s going to be fully online today or not.”
Within a little more than a year, Rogers has had two significant outages. Customers in April of last year noticed sporadic interruptions when attempting to use data or make voice calls.