EDITORIAL – Rogers outage is about a lot more than a little inconvenience

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

GOT AN APOLOGY from Rogers president and CEO Tony Staffieri in my inbox Sunday morning.

“As you know,” he wrote, “we experienced a network outage across both wireless and wireline service on Friday.”

No kidding. Just about everybody in Canada was impacted one way or another.

“I am reaching out to share that our services have been restored, and our networks and systems are close to fully operational,” he continued.

Staffieri went on to explain that the cause of the outage was “a network failure following a maintenance update in our core network, which caused some of our routers to malfunction.”

None of this will be reassuring to the many thousands who were not simply inconvenienced — as was the case with yours truly — but suffered serious financial consequences.

One estimate says the outage knocked out 25 per cent of Internet connectivity in the country. Businesses found themselves unable to accept credit cards in payment. Interac payments were shut down. ATMs conked out. Calls to 911 didn’t work in some areas.

Staffieri promises that customers like myself will receive an automatic credit for the outage. A nice gesture, but the many who actually lost money due to the outage will surely be wanting more substantial compensation, and that means lawsuits.

Certain things are obvious from this situation. One is how much today’s cashless society relies on communication services like Rogers. Another is how vulnerable we are when those services collapse.

It has been pointed out just how precarious a situation such an outage would put us in during times of conflict. If a “maintenance update” can cause it, how hard can it be for an enemy to get into a system — not just Rogers — and crash it?

Industry Minister Francois-Phillipe Champagne calls the situation “unacceptable.” Rogers says it will “take every step necessary” to avoid a repeat.

It’s not an exaggeration to say the security of the country could depend on it.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9481 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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