Canadian Manufacturing

Massive Rogers wireless outage is due to Ericsson software update

In addition to personal communications, experts said the outage is impacting business sales and services.

April 19, 2021  The Canadian Press

Rogers Communications Inc. said it could be hours before it fixes a massive wireless outage it says was caused by a software update from Ericsson.

“We do not have an exact time yet as it may take us several hours to get everything back up and running normally,” said chief technology officer Jorge Fernandes in a message on the company’s website.

He added that Rogers’ engineering and technical teams will work around the clock with the Ericsson team to restore full services for customers.

Fernandes said its TV, home and business wireline internet, and home phone services were not impacted.

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Intermittent wireless service issues have left Rogers customers without phone or texting services since early in the morning of Apr. 19 with broad economic ramifications across Canada, experts said.

“It’s a very big deal,” said Tyler Chamberlin, assistant professor at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa. “It can have very big consequences on our economy.”

In addition to personal communications, experts said the outage is impacting business sales and services such as food delivery and curbside pickup, payments that require a wireless connection and the ability for people to work remotely.

The service interruption could also have health implications, with some Rogers customers saying they’ve been unable to book or check in for medical appointments.

According to Downdetector, a website that tracks outages, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities.

Although the ongoing service disruption appears concentrated in southern Ontario, an outage map suggests the service problems span the country from British Columbia to Nova Scotia.

The massive outage could flame concerns about telecommunications consolidation and costs in Canada, Chamberlin said.

“It’s infrastructure, it’s equipment and it’s going to fail here and there,” he said. “But the fact that we’re paying more than most of the consumers around the world would suggest that our tolerance for outages like this is probably quite limited.”