Rogers promises investment to avoid future network outages


Rogers Communications has pledged to make the investments needed to avoid massive outages of the kind that crippled customer communications across Canada last week.

The Canadian telecom operator will also take steps to ensure that 911 and essential services will be reachable if another outage occurs, Chief Executive Tony Staffieri said in a letter on Wednesday.

“You have my personal commitment that Rogers will make every change and investment needed to help ensure that it will not happen again,” Staffieri said, without providing further details or a specific dollar amount of investment.

Rogers has come under pressure from the Canadian government, customers and politicians over last Friday’s unprecedented glitch that lasted 19 hours.

In a 2009 report, the Emergency Services Working Group said telecom providers would ensure access to 911 for handsets that were uninitiated, unregistered, active, lapsed or unsubscribed.

‘Such an inconceivable thing’

But it made no provision for a scenario where a provider failed completely, said Matthew Gamble, vice-chair of the Internet Society.

“All of the scenarios assume the provider is working,” he said. “It’s such an inconceivable thing that their entire network would fail. It’s not something we plan for.”

What is needed, he added, is a requirement allowing phones to tap into another network to connect to 911 if the user’s provider suffers an outage.

Rogers, which has about 10 million wireless subscribers and 2.25 million retail internet subscribers, said on Tuesday it would be crediting customers with the equivalent of five days service following the outage.

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