CIRA Calls for Public Hearing into Rogers Outage

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is advocating for a public hearing into last week’s nationwide Rogers network outage that affected cellular, wireline, and internet service in the country.

CIRA shared the following statement from Byron Holland, the organization’s president and CEO, with iPhone in Canada in an email, saying, “Never has it been more critical to ensure all Canadians have fast, reliable internet connectivity, both for our economic prosperity and the protection of our critical infrastructure.”

“The recent nationwide Rogers outage is a wake-up call for Canada. It is critical that we get a full understanding of what happened, how we can prevent something similar in the future, and, most importantly, how the various players in Canada’s digital ecosystem can work together to ensure trust in the internet is strengthened,” said Holland.

“This is not about casting blame; it is about improving the reliability, speed, redundancy and security of the internet. While the ongoing CRTC investigation is a good first step, CIRA recommends that a full and frank public hearing be held, and we offer our expertise and assistance in that process to ensure Canadians’ trust in the internet is restored,” added Holland.

CIRA is a not-for-profit organization that manages the .ca top-level domain, among other things. The institution noted that “almost half of Canadians completely lost access to one of their critical infrastructures: the internet” because of last week’s breakdown.

In fact, the incident did more than just deprive Canadians of phone or internet access. Businesses, government agencies, smaller telecom operators, and even banking systems like INTERAC and Visa rely on various Rogers services, and all of them faced disruptions when those went down last week.

The outage even killed phone lines at Canada’s telecom and broadcast regulator, the CRTC. One restaurant chain estimates it lost “tens of millions of dollars in sales” because of the service interruption.

Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri said on Saturday that the disruption was caused by “a network system failure following a maintenance update.”

Last week, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), a consumer group, also called for a public inquiry into last week’s events. The CRTC has demanded answers from Rogers over the “unacceptable” outage, giving the telco 10 days to respond.

Ottawa, meanwhile, has ordered Rogers, Telus, and Bell to create a network safety plan, designed to prevent something like this from happening in the future, within 60 days.