Rogers outage still affecting some customers: CEO Tony Staffieri

The CEO of Rogers communications says the company is still working to fix intermittent issues that are occurring for a small number of customers following a massive outage which knocked out phone, Internet, TV and other infrastructure for millions of customers.

“We know what the problem is, and we’re focused now on ensuring that our network is operating with 100 per cent stability,” Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri told BNN Bloomberg in an interview Monday. “We are seeing some intermittent issues and we’re working on getting on top of those with the customers but those numbers in the overall scheme of things are extremely small, but nonetheless very important.”

Stafieri said the problem came down to a coding error which overwhelmed routers and ultimately “caused our core gateway to shut down.” He said the company is working to ensure “that this does not happen again.”

Millions of customers were cut off from phone, Internet and TV access Friday and Saturday because of the outage, with many people left unable to contact emergency services or to use their debit cards to make payments.

The outage exposed the vulnerability of Canadian society to telecom infrastructure issues and prompted Canada’s industry minister to summon a meeting of telecom executives.

The huge outage also came at a time when Rogers is looking to close a $20 billion takeover of Shaw Communications, a deal Staffieri said the company is still deeply committed to.

“I don’t want to take away from today’s communication on our network outage issue with the Shaw transaction, but we very much remain committed to the Shaw transaction,” Staffieri said when asked about the deal. “That transaction has always been about expanding our network capabilities, obtaining more redundancy and coverage across the nation that can only help in situations like this.

“We also as part of that, proposed to divest Freedom Wireless to another wireless operator that would create an even stronger fourth wireless operator so networks in Canada would have even more diversity of transaction.”

Critics have said that less consolidation, not more, should be part of the solution to an over-dependence on a few large players in the telecom industry.

When asked whether it might make sense to put aside the deal in order to fully concentrate on resolving the outage and preventing another one, Staffieri said the company can do both.

“We are capably dealing with both issues at the same time,” he said, adding that “I don’t think they’re necessarily independent of each other.”

Rogers has said that it will proactively compensate customers for the outage, but some businesses have said that the compensation is not likely to cover losses sustained because of the downed infrastructure.

A number of customers around the GTA said Monday evening that they were still unable to access certain services.

In a statement, Rogers said it was aware of remaining “intermittent “challenges.”

“We are continuing to monitor closely to ensure stability across our network as traffic returns to normal,” the company said. “While our networks and systems are close to fully operational, and the vast majority of customers have had their service restored, we are aware that some customers continue to experience intermittent challenges with their services. Our technical teams are working to resolve these remaining issues as quickly as possible.”

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