Internet outage in Canada disrupts phones, 911 calls and financial services

Canadian telecommunications giant Rogers Communications Inc. suffered outages to its nationwide network today, silencing millions of cordless phones and disrupting internet connections to homes, ATMs and even some 911 emergency lines.

Customers began reporting loss of connectivity as early as 4 a.m. EDT, according to The Wall Street Journal. At 3:20 p.m., the company posted an update saying the outage affected both his wired and wireless networks and that he was continuing to work to restore services and was making progress, but not all services were back online at the time.

No further updates had been released as of 4.30pm The Toronto Star said an online services tracker (pictured) showed failures in the Greater Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Southern British Columbia areas.

“We know how much you rely on our networks,” Rogers said in a post on his homepage. “Today we let you down. We are working to fix it as soon as possible.”

Internet tracking company NetBlocks Ltd. said national connectivity was down about 25% from normal levels Friday and that the outage affected not only Rogers but several internet service providers.

Rogers is Canada’s largest telecommunications provider with 11.3 million wireless subscribers and $8.8 billion in revenue in 2021. Its cable service covers 4.7 million homes. The company also owns the Toronto Blue Jays and event venue Rogers Centre.

The Canadian interbank money transfer service Interac Corp. said its nationwide service was interrupted with debit transactions not available online and at checkout. Service Canada said the outage affected some call centers, including passport offices, according to the Star.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation said the outage hit its lottery terminals and some oncology patients in the Niagara Health System were forced to reschedule Friday appointments. The Scarborough Health Network asked doctors and on-call staff to physically come to the hospital until the disturbance is resolved.

Customers posted numerous complaints on Twitter, but some took the opportunity to shed some light on the situation. Twitter account @RogersOutage quickly appeared with only one follower, while an user echoed a troubleshooting suggestion familiar to cable Internet customers: “Can someone at Rogers pull the plug…wait 30 seconds…and plug it back in??!!

Image: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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Stephen V. Lee