Rogers Communications’ Friday’s outage left most consumers and businesses without service for most of the day, some longer – and they’re now seeking compensation.
The outage affected wireless service, internet connections and phone lines, as well as critical infrastructure such as the Interac payments network.
Rogers eventually told frustrated consumers that a maintenance issue was behind the service outage and promised that users would be “proactively credited” for the disruption.
Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri told Global News in an interview on Monday that the company would “do the right thing” when it comes to refunding affected users and businesses.
So what are Rogers customers owed, and when will the compensation be credited to your account? Here’s what we know so far.
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What is Rogers’ network status?
Staffieri said on Monday that the telecom giant had run a “root cause analysis” of the system failure, confirming initial assumptions about the fault in the network maintenance upgrade code.
That error was pushed through the Rogers system, which overloaded the network’s data and caused equipment to fail, he said.
The company is still seeing “very few ongoing issues” but Staffieri doesn’t have an exact count of how many customers remained out of service as of Monday afternoon.
He said the company’s focus is on restoring connectivity and ensuring the network’s resilience in the coming days.
“What happened on Friday is unacceptable and we are committed to taking every step within our control to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.
How much will Rogers give customers? When?
Telecommunication confirmed on Tuesday that it will offer a five-day service fee credit to users, calling it the “first step” in restoring customer confidence. The credit news was first reported by the Toronto Star.
Staffieri confirmed to Global News earlier that credits will be automatically applied to customer accounts.
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Compensation will automatically appear on the next month’s bill, although he said some may be processed the following month.
This approach is similar to how Rogers handles refunds when it shuts down in April 2021.
Affected customers won’t have to apply for a refund in any way – purported text messages from Rogers asking users to enter information or click a link to make their claim will be considered spam.
Users with internet provider Start, which acquired Rogers’ network and whose service was also disrupted on Friday, will have to wait a little longer for compensation. Start told Global News in a statement Monday that it is awaiting direction from Rogers and Champagne on how wholesalers will be affected following the shutdown.
Inconveniencing Friday’s outages for consumers, the inability to process payments or, in some cases, answer the phone means a significant loss of revenue for many businesses in the United States. Canada.
“This comes right after two years of pandemic-related restrictions and closures that have been devastating. Dan Kelly, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), told Global News on Monday.
Many businesses have had to scramble to come up with different payment solutions after going cashless for a while COVID-19 pandemic, Kelly noted.
The CFIB hopes for more substantial recognition from Rogers of the widespread impact of the shutdown on the Canadian economy.
Kelly said he’d like to see a month’s worth of Rogers utilities’ fees paid to affected businesses, not just one day, to reflect the overwhelming impact on business owners.
“I would lose it if Rogers thought a day (fee) was adequate compensation for a small business,” he said.
Global News asked Staffieri if businesses should be treated differently than individual accounts.
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He did not respond directly, but reiterated that the company is talking to customers individually on a case-by-case basis to address service and compensation concerns.
“Our main goal is to make sure they have a connection and continue to work with them and keep them as customers. It is in our interest to do that,” said Staffieri.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said in a statement Monday that Rogers “has a responsibility to pay back small businesses that lost revenue during the shutdown.”
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Kelly said a lesson for those affected by the outage is that while a service plan with a telco can keep upfront costs lower, diversifying transactions across Phone and internet can protect a business when service drops.
“From a backup business standpoint, the best advice we have for business owners is not to put all your apples in one wagon here,” he said.
How do we know this won’t happen again?
The outage prompted a swift response from Rogers, the government and other stakeholders to ensure the outage did not last long or spread.
“You can expect changes in the future to ensure that we improve the resilience and redundancy of the network so this doesn’t happen again,” said Staffieri.
The CEO said Rogers will announce the exact changes to its network infrastructure, but he hinted that there will be operational changes and stop maps built into the network to avoid where a single error can spread rapidly through the system.
Staffieri also said the company identified an issue that prevented some customers from calling 911 during the outage, and said Rogers will share that information with other industry stakeholders to keep it afloat. of critical services when any provider experiences an outage.
Staffieri and Bell and Telus executives spoke with Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne for nearly an hour on Monday in a call focused on cyber resilience, according to the minister. The companies had 60 days to reach an agreement to explore how to implement emergency roaming during network failures to allow access to emergency services, as well as create a communication protocol to better inform the public and authorities, and provide assistance during power outages.
Meanwhile, Interac said Monday that it is adding another network provider to its system after a Rogers outage left millions of Canadians locked out of online payments.
The widespread impact of the Rogers incident shows that overreliance on some of Canada’s major telecommunications service providers and consumers can have a role to play in fostering competition, the stakeholders said. in this field.
The Public Interest Advocacy Center (PIAC) submitted a letter to the Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission of Canada (CRTC) on Friday during its shutdown calling for an investigation into the issues. .
The NDP also requested an investigation on Monday and suggested they would call Champagne, Rogers and Interac into commission to hold them accountable for the lost service.
Champagne confirmed on Monday afternoon that CRTC will investigate the cause of the outage.
PIAC is also looking to establish a set of baseline service requirements in the event of an outage to notify Canadians of problems and create a standard for compensation during these incidents.
Yuka Sai, a staff attorney with PIAC, told Global News that the lack of such standards leaves consumers in the dark about what they owe as their networks drop.
She said the service outages showed gaps in Canada’s telecom landscape, where service reductions could have a major impact.
“The extent of the national outage really raises the question of whether it is wise to rely on a single large national carrier in many cases to provide a wide range of network services, internet services and that, in the absence of real competition, is a real problem,” she said.
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Rosa Addario is the communications director of Open Media, which advocates for an open, affordable, and uncensored internet in Canada.
Both she and Sai said the best thing consumers should do now if they are upset about Rogers’ shutdown is to write to Champagne and their local members of Congress calling for a competitive telecoms landscape. more competitive than in Canada.
Addario said the need to put pressure on policymakers was particularly high as Rogers sought regulatory approval for the proposed acquisition of Shaw Communications for $20 billion.
She told Global News: “We should be angry now and we should be upset and we should take this as an opportunity to light the fire and look at how we can strive for a good system. than.
“This is not necessarily the status quo.”
– with files from Global News ‘Anne Gaviola, Eric Stober and Reuters
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