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Rogers CEO and other telecom execs summoned to meet with industry minister after outage


Entrepreneurs

Rogers CEO and other telecom execs summoned to meet with industry minister after outage

They’re getting called to the principal’s office.

Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri and other senior telecommunications industry executives have been summoned to a meeting with federal science, innovation and industry minister François-Philippe Champagne in the wake of Friday’s nationwide Rogers outage.

“The Minister will be meeting with the CEOs of Rogers, and other major telecom companies, to discuss how important it is to improve the reliability of the networks across Canada,” said Champagne spokesperson Alexander Wellstead in a written statement Sunday afternoon.

The virtual meeting comes after Rogers saw its cell, cable, and internet networks go down for most of Friday, snarling everything from debit cards to 911 service and online streaming services in many parts of the country.

“The minister shares the frustration millions of Canadians experienced last week when Rogers experienced a system failure. The minister has been emphatic that the situation is unacceptable and expressed that directly to the CEO of Rogers,” Wellstead added.

In a written statement, a Rogers spokesperson said the company is “looking forward” to the meeting.

“Rogers understands the frustration and disruption we created for Canadians with our network outage, and we are wholly committed to finding solutions. The federal government and Minister Champagne were there throughout the outage offering assistance, for which we are grateful. They are focused on solutions and a plan for the future and so are we,” the statement said.

Neither Bell Canada Enterprises nor Telus immediately responded to requests for comment on whether their CEOs would be attending.

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Rogers, meanwhile, didn’t provide any more details on refunds it said it will be applying to customers’ next bills.

In a written statement Saturday, Staffieri blamed the outage on “a network system failure following a maintenance update,” and added that routers in the company’s network malfunctioned.

Earlier this weekend, consumer advocacy group Public Interest Advocacy Centre called on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the country’s telecom regulator, to investigate the outage, and to take a closer look at all communications providers in the country.

Interac, which operates Canada’s main debit card network, said it plans to hire a second telecommunications vendor after the Rogers outage shut it down Friday.

The outage came amid increased resistance from Canada’s antitrust watchdog to Rogers’ proposed $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications.

Mediation between Rogers and the Competition Bureau July 4 and 5 didn’t solve the Bureau’s objections to the deal.

The Bureau has been working to block the merger, saying it would result in less choice and higher telecommunications bills for Canadians.

Josh Rubin is a Toronto-based business reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @starbeer

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