A massive outage at Rogers knocked out internet and cellular services across Canada, and also disrupted government services and payment systems for businesses and individuals.

The outage began early Friday morning and, as of 5 p.m. ET, had not been repaired.

The company does not have an estimate of when it will be repaired, Kye Prigg, senior vice president of access networks and operations at Rogers, told CBC. Political power.

“I wouldn’t say if it’s going to be fully online today or not, but we’re working very, very hard to make sure everything is up and running as soon as possible,” he told host Catherine Cullen. .

“[But] we are getting closer to understanding the root cause of failure. And we are taking action with our network providers to restore the situation.”

“We don’t understand how the different levels of redundancy we’re building across the network from coast to coast haven’t worked,” he said.

The company has approximately nine million wireless customers and just under three million on the cable and Internet side of the business.

Responding to questions about compensation, Rogers said on Friday afternoon that it would “proactively credit all customers” – but did not provide further details.

Internet monitoring group Netblocks.org reports that total Internet traffic in Canada was 75% from its normal level on Friday morning.

A wide variety of services impacted

Rogers-owned spin-off brands like Fido and Chatr are also offline, but even services not directly controlled by Rogers, like emergency services, travel and financial networks, are having issues.

Debit payment services have also been discontinued.

“A nationwide telecommunications outage with a network provider … is impacting the availability of certain Interac services,” an Interac spokesperson confirmed to CBC News.

“Debit is currently unavailable online and at checkout. Interac e-transfer is also largely unavailable, impacting the ability to send and receive payments.”

ATMs and other financial networks across the country were down, apparently due to Rogers’ problems. (Angela MacIvor/CBC)

Bell has confirmed that it has no problems on its network, although it says customers are having trouble connecting to anything on a Rogers network.

“Bell’s network is operational and calls and texts between Bell customers or to other providers are not impacted”, the company said on Twitter.

CBC’s radio station in Kitchener, Ont., was taken offline and off the air following the outage.

911 problems

The Toronto Police Department tweeted that Rogers customers in that city were having trouble connecting to 911, but pointed out that 911 itself was working fine, as long as people weren’t calling from outside. a Rogers-affiliated device.

“We are working to resolve these issues,” the force said.

Other emergency services have reported a similar condition.

“Although Rogers is experiencing a nationwide outage, our testing has shown that 911 is still working,” a spokesperson for the Fredericton Police Department told CBC News.

Officials in Winnipeg and Vancouver also pointed out that emergency services are operational, but people on Rogers’ network don’t seem to be able to access them.

Below Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) rules in place since 2017telecommunications networks are supposed to ensure that cell phones can contact 911 even if they have no service.

Canada’s telecommunications regulator did not immediately respond to a request from CBC News about whether the 911 problems seen on Friday violated those rules. In a tweet, the CRTC said it also had no reliable phone service due to the Rogers outage.

‘Incomprehensible’ failure

They are not the only ones. Ordinary Canadians told CBC News on Friday that the outage was unacceptable.

“This can’t happen again without changes being made,” said Torontonian Andrew Revai. “People can tweet all the memes they want about the loss of connectivity, but how will Rogers prevent it from happening again?”

WATCH | Here’s what ordinary Canadians told us:

Major Rogers outage hits businesses and customers across Canada

Rogers customers were caught off guard by Friday’s massive outage involving both mobile networks and the internet, which also caused widespread disruption to banks, businesses and some emergency services across Canada.

Ottawa resident Robert Hubscher said “it’s incomprehensible” that a company as big as Rogers could have such an extensive outage for so long.

He uses Rogers for his cell phone and home internet, and says he’s happy to have services with other companies to keep connections going right now.

“It’s kind of scary that regulators aren’t looking at this more seriously,” Hubscher said.

Government services, including already overcrowded passport offices, Service Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency are also affected.

The Canada Border Services Agency says the ArriveCan app is disabled due to the outage, so anyone arriving in Canada will be able to must have a hard copy of their vaccination status.

Customers gather around the patio of a Starbucks store in Toronto with working internet, while a Rogers truck is shown in the foreground. (Alex Lupul/CBC)

Telecoms analyst Vince Valentini of TD Bank, which covers Rogers, says it’s not good for the company’s reputation to have an outage of this magnitude, especially since it appears to concern all its services, from Internet to wireless.

“The longer this situation lasts, the more we believe there could be minor risks of customer churn,” he said. “And there could also be credibility issues for Rogers in the future as it tries to increase sales.”

It’s the second time in as many years that Rogers has been rocked by a major outage, as the company’s wireless and wired networks similarly collapsed in April 2021. At the time, Rogers said blamed a problem with a software update at one of its telecom equipment vendors.

At that time, the company offered customers discounts for their services, which ultimately ended up being a few dollars per customer. If the same metric is applied this time, Valentini says the company could be owed about $28 million in rebates.

Technology analyst Ritesh Kotak says he suspects the cause of the outage is “an update gone wrong” in one of Rogers’ internal systems.

WATCH | Not a cyberattack, says a government official:

Rogers outage does not appear to be a cyberattack: government official

“At this point, I think we can reassure Canadians that this is not a cyberattack,” Parliamentary Secretary Greg Fergus said of Rogers’ cross-Canada outage, citing early analysis of the Communications Security Establishment.

Regardless of why, Kotak says it underscores just how vulnerable the Canadian economy is to outages like this, and says it makes sure all of its telecom services come from different providers for that exact reason.

“It shows how dependent we are on this technology,” he said in an interview. “From some government departments… to working from home, it has literally all been shut down.”

Vass Bednar, executive director of McMaster University’s Masters of Public Policy in the Digital Society program, says the outage underscores a long-simmering problem with Canada’s telecommunications network, namely that infrastructure and services -themselves belong to private companies.

This is not the case everywhere in the world, where private sector players control one or the other, and often compete with a public option.

“Internet and cellular services…seem to be a public good,” she told CBC News in an interview on Friday. “They appear to be critical digital infrastructure that we all need to use, yet they are privately owned and operated.”

“Maybe it’s time for Canadians to seriously rethink that.”

Rogers said it is working to restore services as quickly as possible. (Patrick Morell/CBC)