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Rogers Telecoms’ network resuming after major outage hits millions of Canadians

Rogers Telecommunications said its network was beginning to recover late on Friday after a 19-hourservice outage at one of Canada’s biggest telecom operators shut banking, transport and government access for millions, drawing outrage from customers and adding to criticism over its industry dominance.

Nearly every facet of life has been disrupted, with the outage affecting internet access, cell phone and landline phone connections. Some callers could not reach emergency services via 911 calls, police across Canada said.

Canadians crowded into cafes and public libraries that still had internet access and hovered outside hotels to catch a signal. Canada’s border services agency said the outage affected its mobile app for incoming travelers. Retailers’ cashless pay systems went down; banks reported issues with ATM services.

Rogers said in a statement on Twitter that “our wireless services are starting to recover” and workers are trying to get people back online as quickly as possible.

In a separate statement on its website, Rogers President and Chief Executive Officer Tony Staffieri apologized for the outage, saying: “Today we let you down. We can and will do better.”

He added that the company doesn’t have a timeline on when the networks will be fully restored, “but we will continue to share information with our customers as we restore full services.”

A spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Friday evening that the outage was not the result of a cyber attack.

Rogers’ shares closed down 73 cents at C$61.54 ($47.53) on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The disruption also made transport and flight bookings more difficult at the height of the summer travel season.

So far, Transport Canada has not received reports of direct safety or security impacts to any flights, marine or rail services as part of this outage, according to spokesperson Sau Liu.

The interruption was Rogers’ second in 15 months. It began around 4:30 a.m. ET and knocked out a quarter of Canada’s observable internet connectivity, said the NetBlocks monitoring group.

With about 10 million wireless subscribers and 2.25 million retail internet subscribers, Rogers is the top provider in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province and home to its biggest city, Toronto. Rogers, BCE Inc and Telus Corp control 90% of the market share in Canada.

Canadian Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne in a tweet called the situation “unacceptable” and said he was in communication with telecom CEOs, including those from Rogers, Bell and Telus, to find a solution.

Canadian financial institutions and banks, including Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank Of Montreal, said the outage disrupted services. Royal Bank of Canada said its ATMs and online banking services were affected. Reuters

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