Feds Order Rogers, Telus, Bell to Create Network Safety Plan within 60 Days

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François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, met with the CEOs of Rogers, Telus and Bell today, to discuss the recent outage that crippled the INTERAC network, 9-1-1 services, cellphone calling and data, plus home internet and more.

According to Champagne on Monday afternoon, he detailed more about the meeting’s conclusions.

“The national outage of telecom services that millions of Canadians experienced in the last few days is unacceptable. Full stop. It affected people across the country, emergency services, small and medium size businesses and payment systems,” said the minister.

“That’s why today I brought together the heads of the major telecom companies to demand they take immediate action to improve the resiliency and reliability of our networks by ensuring a formal arrangement is in place within 60 days.”

“I directed the companies to reach agreements on (i) emergency roaming, (ii) mutual assistance during outages, & (iii) a communication protocol to better inform the public and authorities during telecommunications emergencies,” detailed Champagne.

During the Rogers outage, the company took four hours to acknowledge the nationwide outage on Twitter. Subsequent updates were vague without detailing any ETA on when services would be restored.

Champagne also added, “this outage will be investigated by the CRTC as well.” The CRTC recently approved the transfer of broadcasting licenses in the Rogers-Shaw deal.

“This is just a first step,” concluded Champagne. “Canadians deserve more from their providers in terms of quality and reliability of service and I will ensure they meet the high standard that Canadians expect, including improving competition, innovation and affordability.”

Rogers Senior Vice President Kye Prigg told CBC’s Power & Politics in a surprising and seemingly unprepared video interview on the day of the outage the latter had affected “millions” of Canadians, without going into specifics.

The telecom’s service outage extended to three days for some customers, and also four days according to comments shared by iPhone in Canada readers.

Bell and Telus have yet to experience a devastating nationwide outage as seen by Rogers. Last April, Rogers also suffered a daylong outage, blaming it on a software update, again like this year. Software updates are hard, it seems.

Rogers will be refunding Canadians two prorated days of service. Some believe this is not enough and a Quebec class action lawsuit is seeking $400 per customer affected by the outage instead.