Canada regulator gives Rogers 10 days to answer for massive outage

By Anna Mehler Paperny and Divya Rajagopal

TORONTO (Reuters) -Canada’s telecoms regulator said on Tuesday it has ordered Rogers Communications to respond to questions about last week’s network outage that impacted millions of Canadians.

Rogers needs to provide a detailed account as to “why” and “how” the outage happened, and what measures the company is putting in place to prevent future outages, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said in a statement.

The CRTC has asked Rogers more than 50 pointed questions relating to the outage and the company has until July 22 to provide its responses, after which the CRTC will decide what additional measures need to be taken.

The glitch that lasted nearly 19 hours starting last Friday disrupted services from flights to banking and emergency 911 calls, casting doubt over Rogers’ C$20 billion ($15.4 billion) takeover of Shaw Communications.

“Events of this magnitude paralysing portions of our country’s economy and jeopardizing the safety of Canadians are simply unacceptable,” CRTC said.

Rogers did not respond to an email query regarding the letter by CRTC.

On Monday, the Canadian minister for industries François-Philippe Champagne announced a probe over network outage.

Following the outage payment services firm Interac has decided to add additional network provider to secure its operations from future outages.

The Retail Council of Canada which counts close to 45 thousand retailers as its members told Reuters that it is quantifying the financial impact of Friday’s network outage on its members.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) that counts 95 thousand small business as its members said the impact of the Rogers outage on small businesses “has been huge” due to lost sales on ecommerce sites.

(Reporting by Divya Rajagopal and Anna Mehler Paperny in TorontoAdditional reporting by Ismail Shakil in OttawaEditing by Chris Reese and Aurora Ellis)