Rogers attributes massive outage to error during network update

Rogers Communications Inc. says a network update caused a malfunction that “very quickly” disrupted telecommunications services earlier this month, according to a letter sent to Canada’s broadcast regulator published Friday.

The outage, which began early July 8 and lasted days for some customers, left millions of people without cellphones or internet service, prompting questions from the federal government and the City Council. Canadian Broadcasting and Telecommunications (CRTC).

“An update to our main IP [internet protocol] network … caused a malfunction in our IP routing network,” the letter read.

The letter, posted on the CRTC’s website, met the deadline set by the regulator for Rogers to respond to questions about the outage. However, it contains numerous redactions where Rogers allegedly provided more specific details about the issue and his plans to prevent something similar from happening again.

The CRTC said Rogers submitted two versions of the letter, one complete and one with redactions, and released the latter to protect “highly sensitive information” about Rogers’ operations.

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CRTC orders Rogers to respond to massive network outage

Canada’s telecommunications regulator has ordered Rogers to explain the cause of its massive network outage, while Rogers has announced new compensation plans for customers.

Among other things, the CRTC had asked Rogers to explain why 911 services had been discontinued in certain areas and how it planned to honor CEO Tony Staffieri’s promise to proactively credit customer accounts.

“In order to regain the trust of Canadians, it is important that we provide open answers to the questions they have about the outage,” reads Rogers’ letter. “That’s why when responding to the CRTC…Rogers is as transparent as possible.”

Rogers also said it hired a third party to investigate and provide information about what happened.

Officials from Rogers and numerous other stakeholders are due to appear before a parliamentary committee Monday in Ottawa to further explain the cause of the outage and outline the steps they are taking to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

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Rogers attributes massive outage to error during network

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Panelists debate what should happen in the wake of Friday’s Rogers network outage to help prevent consumers and businesses from being left in the dark again.

In its letter, Rogers said the update’s coding removed a routing filter that “allowed all possible routes to the Internet to pass through routers,” which flooded and overwhelmed the core network, bringing it to completely stop processing Internet traffic.

“As a result, the Rogers network lost connectivity to the internet.”

He said many Rogers employees seeking to resolve the issue were affected and unable to connect to the company’s computer and network systems. As a result, only those “equipped with emergency SIM cards on other carriers” could initially sort out the outage.

“While every effort was made to prevent and mitigate the outage, the consequence of the coding change affected the network very quickly,” Rogers said.

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