CRTC Paying $230,000 for Firm to Probe 2022 Rogers Outage

According to CBC News, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has confirmed the hiring of engineering consultant Xona Partners to investigate the massive Rogers outage last year.

The private firm is tasked with investigating the 2022 Rogers outage that left over 10 million customers without services. The CRTC will be paying $230,000 for this investigation, according to info relayed to CBC News after it published its story on Thursday. That’s $230,000 taxpayer dollars to be spent on a private investigation into the Rogers outage.

Xona Partners will conduct a “forensic level technical review” of Rogers’ networks, interview key staff, and visit Rogers’ operation centers in Toronto. The final report is slated for completion by the end of October.

“The objective of this [Request for Proposal] is to hire a consultancy firm who will assist in analysing and assessing Rogers’ wireless and wireline telecommunications networks for resiliency in all aspects related to the July 8, 2022 outage and evaluating the changes proposed by Rogers in response to this network outage to preventing future outages,” explained the description of the federal government’s posting, that closed back in April 2023.

Critics, including John Lawford from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, have raised concerns about the timing and transparency of the CRTC’s actions. The Rogers outage, which started on July 8, 2022, had severe repercussions, including disruptions to emergency services.

“It’s kind of like sending in investigators after the body is cold,” said Lawford. “We can’t see how that engineering firm is doing its work. We also don’t know if the eventual report will be made public, or redacted, or mostly confidential, or partly confidential. And I think the public would like to know just what occurred at Rogers.”

“We… have implemented several enhancements and safeguards. We will continue to work with the CRTC to ensure Canadians have access to reliable telecommunication services and timely information,” said Rogers spokesperson Zac Carreiro.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed last September, Rogers and other telecom providers have agreed to mutual support during future major network outages. Carreiro pointed to this agreement as a step Rogers has taken since the outage, emphasizing the company’s commitment to providing the “highest level of resiliency.”

The CRTC has also introduced temporary rules requiring telecom providers to notify the regulator within two hours of a major outage affecting more than 100,000 customers. Further regulatory consultations are currently underway.

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