The Rogers blackout prompted calls for telecoms to cooperate during emergencies. Will it work? – Nation

In the event that a telecom company’s network goes down again – like Rogers’ did last Friday – key players will be asked to work together to improve resilience.

The order to cooperate in an emergency, issued from the Minister of Technology and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne on Monday, comes after Rogers stopped working July 8 saw millions of Canadians without internet and cell phone service for most of the day. Some areas are still reporting power outages.

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The minister said that the three major Canadian telecommunications companies – Rogers, Bell and Telus – were ready to help each other, but striking a work-in-place agreement would not be an easy task, said one expert. Gia said.

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“It will be quite a challenge for these telecom companies to come up with a comprehensive plan,” said Daniel Tsai, a lecturer in media, culture, information and technology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. to deal with future loss of life.

“Some of this may be for political optics, but the reality is that there are a lot of steps that must be taken before this can become a reality.”

Telecom companies must join formal agreement to improve resilience: Minister

Champagne said major Canadian telecommunications companies must sign a formal agreement within 60 days of July 11 to take the first steps towards improving resilience.

The agreement will require the companies to explore how to implement emergency roaming if their networks fail again to allow emergency services to continue operating using other providers, as well as a communication protocols to better inform the public and authorities, and provide mutual assistance during power outages.

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Click to play video: 'Rogers outage leads to lawsuit, compensation questions, competition'

Rogers blackout spawns lawsuit, compensation questions, competition

Rogers blackout spawns lawsuit, compensation questions, competition

It would be similar to what the US Federal Communications Commission did on July 6 to improve the network’s resilience during disasters, Champagne said.

Bell and Telus stand ready to help Rogers during the outage, Champagne told Global News on Monday, but Ottawa wants that to be “systematized” so there will be a clear protocol if such an incident occurs. once again. He said all the telecom companies he spoke to had agreed to enter into such an agreement.

But since Friday’s outage was an internal matter for Rogers, there’s nothing the other telecom giants can really do in this moment to help, Champagne said – posing the question. Ask if mutual aid is helpful in all cases.

“In practical terms, you have a bunch of logistical problems involved in trying to communicate between different systems, having access to other users on a different network, so , there are many potential technical and even legal challenges.

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“As well as compensation, because think of it this way: you are giving access to your network if you are Bell or Telus to Rogers, who is your fierce competitor, and so you are compensated. compensate how? “

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Champagne spoke to executives from Canada’s telecommunications companies for nearly an hour on Monday, saying Friday’s outage was “unacceptable – a complete stop.”

Rogers said the outage was due to a network failure following the outage and that “the vast majority” of customers were back online.

According to CEO Tony Staffieri, the company will compensate customers on their next bill for the outage, and the amount will be determined on a “prorated basis based on downtime.” “.

Telecommunications professionals must be able to work together during emergencies:

Tsai is not confident that progress will be made in 60 days, but other experts like Keldon Bester believe Ottawa’s directive is a “good and sensible step.”

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“The signal is that the Minister is expecting something above the competition. We need something that improves resilience, and that may require agreements they may not have signed off on,” said Bester, a fellow at the International Center for Governance Innovation and a co-author. founder of the Canadian Antitrust Project.

“Emergency roaming, on a technical level, can manifest in a number of different ways but it basically means that if one network goes down, there is an agreement for the other networks to have an emergency zone. overlap coverage to cover those customers and ensure that they have continuity. Service.”

Bester added that while there may be technical questions around emergency roaming, he believes that aspect is possible.

“I don’t think the competition is so fierce that they won’t be able to help but conclude an agreement that covers these emergencies extensively.”

Click to play video: 'Mother unable to contact 911 to request changes after Rogers outage'

Mother unable to contact 911 to request change after Rogers outage

Mother unable to contact 911 to request change after Rogers outage

Technology analyst Carmi Levy said that if a deal like the one Ottawa has asked for was reached on Friday, the impact of the Rogers shutdown would likely be different.

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“We will still be in inconvenience, but perhaps not as much as we are. We can still make 911 calls. Emergency services may not be compromised to the same extent,” he said.

“This is a good thing going forward – we’re going to come up with innovative solutions for what these companies, quite frankly, have promised to maintain as they become as big as they are today.… So , whatever it takes, whatever the cost, this has to happen. “

Rogers outage also focuses on telecom diversity

Friday’s outage brought attention to the vulnerability of Canada’s internet and mobile networks, which are dominated by three major players.

There is also speculation that the shutdown could affect Rogers’ chances of securing his proposed merger with Shaw Communications, a move that would further reduce the number of telecom companies in the region. country.

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Bester said if there were more networks in Canada, Friday’s outage might not have had such a big impact.

“Distinct networks and differentiated ownership are an important part of competition and driving resilience in the telecom market,” he said.

“Competition in the Canadian telecom markets is not working as we would like, so the first thing to do is let us not go any further this way and allow some of the competition to remain swallowed up. devoured by incumbent players. “

Champagne said Monday that Canada’s telecommunications regulator, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), will hold an investigation into the outage to find the root cause. Roots and how to improve the resilience of Canada’s telecommunications networks.

The CRTC on Tuesday asked Rogers to answer detailed questions and provide a comprehensive explanation of the nationwide outage by July 22. The CRTC is asking Rogers for a detailed report on “reasons.” why” and “how” the outage occurred, as well as what measures Rogers is taking to prevent future outages.

“There needs to be an investigation to find out exactly what happened at Rogers so that other competitors and Rogers can actually be held accountable to the Canadians and make changes to their network. to make sure this doesn’t happen on any of the networks,” said Tsai.

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– with word files Abigail Bimman and Eric Stober

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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