HomeBusinessRogers Network Outage Disrupts Canada Internet Access and Bank Transactions

Rogers Network Outage Disrupts Canada Internet Access and Bank Transactions


One of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies,

Rogers Communications Inc.,

RCI -1.02%

reported Friday outages across its nationwide network, affecting millions of its wireless phone and home internet customers, and hampering electronic-banking transactions.

As of late Friday afternoon, Toronto-based Rogers said it was making progress in resolving the outage, which some customers reported started as early as 4 a.m. ET on Friday morning.

Cloudflare Inc.,

NET -1.25%

a global cloud-services provider, said its analysis indicated the outage was due to an internal error at Rogers as the telecom tried to upgrade certain equipment that helps internet data flow back and forth through networks. A Rogers spokeswoman, in response to Cloudflare’s assessment, said the company has “every technical resource and partner fully deployed to solve the problem. Right now, we are focused on the solution.”

Police in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, and in its capital, Ottawa, initially warned of problems connecting to police through the 9-1-1 emergency line.

The biggest impact was on payments and cash withdrawals conducted through Canada’s Interac system, a not-for-profit entity that operates a national debit network that handles on average 18 million transactions a day. It said debit-card transactions online and at checkout counters weren’t available. Interac added that certain electronic payments—such as transferring money from one bank account to another—also couldn’t be executed.

Representatives from Canada’s two biggest banks, Royal Bank of Canada and

TD Bank,

said the outage affected some of the lender’s services, including the ability to withdraw cash from automated-teller machines.

The outage comes as Rogers seeks to complete a $16 billion transaction to acquire

Shaw Communications,

a smaller cable-TV and internet provider. That transaction faces opposition from Canada’s antitrust watchdog, the Competition Bureau, and talks between the two companies and the regulator failed to address existing concerns. Rogers and Calgary-based Shaw agreed to sell Shaw’s wireless phone division in an effort to address regulatory concerns.

According to corporate filings, Rogers has about 10 million wireless phone customers and more than two million clients who subscribe to its high-speed internet service. Rival BCE Inc., based in Montreal, has roughly 12 million wireless phone subscribers and nearly four million internet customers.

A spokeswoman for BCE said the company’s network is operating properly.

Telus Corp.

, another Canadian telecom provider, also reported no issues with its internet or wireless infrastructure. However, both BCE and Telus said their customers would face trouble trying to phone or text Rogers subscribers.

In a recent report, the Bank of Canada said outages to internet services could trigger disruptions to the country’s financial market infrastructure.

Among those affected by the Rogers outage is Canada’s telecommunications regulator. “Please note that our phone lines are affected by the Rogers network outage,” said the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. “We are monitoring the situation.”

Write to Paul Vieira at [email protected]

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