July 8 failure | Rogers’ chief technical officer was conspicuous by his absence

Rogers Communications Chief Technology Officer was out of the country on Friday, July 8, the day of the network outage that affected more than 10 million Canadians and hundreds of thousands of businesses.

Posted at 6:00 am

Richard Dufour

Richard Dufour
The press

According to our information, Jorge Fernandes was in Portugal that day.

Jorge Fernandes has been Chief Technology Officer at Rogers since February 2018.


Jorge Fernandes, Chief Technology Officer of Rogers Communications

On the phone, Rogers spokeswoman Chloé Luciani-Girouard did not dispute our information but declined to comment on this specific situation, confining herself to referring us to the various communications that Rogers has published over the past week about the glitch . She also informed us that CEO Tony Staffieri was unavailable for an interview.

Problematic update

Rogers said last weekend that the July 8 outage was caused by a maintenance update to its core network. After beginning at dawn on Friday, July 8, the outage lasted all day, and in the evening the service began to recover. However, a full recovery was only achieved in the days that followed.

In a report published by The press Earlier this week, Pierre C. Bélanger, a professor at the University of Ottawa and a specialist in communications and telecommunications regulations, pointed out that the outage occurred at a time of year when the chief engineer may have been on vacation.

History will tell us. It didn’t happen on October 21, when everyone is in the office after returning to work. Today we are between two seasons and many people are traveling with us [les] Children. Is it a coincidence that it happened at that time? [On peut] I can be sure Rogers was able to tell us that after an investigation, management found their quarterback was absent that week.

Pierre C. Bélanger, Professor at the University of Ottawa and specialist in communications and telecommunications regulation, in an interview with The press earlier this week

Last year, a bug caused by a software update from partner Ericsson disrupted services at Rogers for 16 hours. This update caused devices to be disconnected from the network.

It was Jorge Fernandes who publicly apologized to customers and provided explanations in an official letter. This week, CEO Tony Staffieri signed the public statement issued after the July 8 power outage.

After calling the disruption in services “unacceptable” on July 8, German industry minister François-Philippe Champagne on Monday called on the heads of the country’s telecom companies to sign a formal agreement for 60 days on emergency roaming and mutual Assistance to meet blackouts, in addition to developing a communication protocol to better inform the public and authorities during an emergency.

The outage a week ago comes as Rogers seeks regulatory approval to acquire rival Shaw, a deal worth $26 billion including debt. The competition authority rejects the transaction, arguing in particular that the merger would result in higher prices and lower quality of service.

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