Breakdown at Rogers | “It takes such concussions to change anything”

Days after the Rogers network outage, which affected more than 10 million Canadians and hundreds of thousands of businesses, experts are seeing positive elements and looking to put the event into perspective.

Posted at 6am yesterday

Richard Dufour

Richard Dufour
The press

While Rogers says the outage was caused by a maintenance update, National Bank financial analyst Adam Shine says he prefers human or software errors to a problem caused by underinvestment in the network, equipment failure, or more serious recurring problems.

If there’s a silver lining, he says in a Tuesday report, it’s that the outage came ahead of a much more complex use of the 5G network, to support things like long-distance operations and autonomous driving vehicles on our roads.

We all agree on the inconvenience, but no one died despite the thousands of horror stories arising from this collapse.

Pierre C. Bélanger, Professor at the University of Ottawa

The telecoms regulation specialist would like to put the incident, which began on Friday and continued over the weekend, into perspective.

“That is the great risk of these mega-infrastructures with an incalculable volume of data. It’s the same infrastructures that have allowed the Earth to keep spinning for two years. Let’s keep that in mind,” explains Mr. Bélanger.

The event reminds him of the ice storm. “It takes concussions like this to change things,” he said.

“Engineers from Canadian telecom companies will be supported when they return from furlough in mid-October to ensure a safety net is in place. We learn from one great player’s mishap, but the competition is lucky not to have faced such a situation as updates are made every week. »

Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne on Monday urged heads of the country’s telecoms companies to reach a formal agreement on emergency roaming and mutual assistance within 60 days.

“That is the good news of this disaster. Expect cooperation in the future. Because of the importance it has in our lives, it is beneficial and essential in this sector,” comments Pierre C. Bélanger.

The CRTC will investigate

Canada’s Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced Tuesday that it is asking Rogers to make a full statement by July 22. The organization is asking Rogers to clarify why and how the outage occurred, as well as the measures taken to prevent future outages.

While the CRTC is launching its investigation and Rogers announced on Tuesday that it would give its customers five service days of credit, Pierre C. Bélanger believes equipment and technology suppliers could be part of the explanation.

“Are you doing business with Cisco, a German provider or from another country? Sometimes a mix of a Japanese provider with a German and an Australian can cause a breakdown. »

According to Pierre C. Bélanger, it is even surprising that technical problems do not occur more frequently given the volume, speed and quality of the systems (image, sound, synchronization).

For this specialist, if the reaction from the public and the authorities is so strong, it is mainly because we in telecommunications have convinced ourselves that a glitch is unacceptable, especially because for 25 years we have been telling Canadians to who belong to the best paid in the world.

There is not much room for error, because in France, for example, telecommunications companies charge half the tariffs here. And let’s not forget that telecoms are the companies we love to hate. Justin Trudeau came to power with the intention of lowering tariffs.

Pierre C Belanger

Telcos point to the high cost of building and managing their infrastructure.

“Canada is not Liechtenstein. Companies will say they need to set up one antenna in Nunavut, three more on an island of 22,000 people, and so on. and if they have to send people to fix a line, it takes them four hours to drive to get there and two days to get the job done. There is an explanation for the tariffs. It’s geographical. »

Pierre C. Bélanger points out that there are also outages in other industries, especially in the power grids and subway traffic.

“It is extraordinary that there are so few outages in telecommunications! Maybe there’s an engineer who dropped one. It remains one freak Accident. It can also be a time of year when the chief engineer is on vacation. History will tell us. It didn’t happen on October 21st. Today we are between two seasons and many people are traveling with their children. Is it a coincidence that it happened at that time? Rest assured Rogers was able to tell us that after an investigation, management found their quarterback was absent that week. »

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