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Rogers unable to switch customers to Bell, Telus, despite competing carrier offers


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TORONTO — Rogers Communications Inc. says it was unable to switch customers to competing carriers during the unprecedented service outage earlier this month despite offers of assistance from Bell and Telus.

In a submission to the federal regulator late Friday, the telecom giant also says it was unable to shut down its radio access network, which would have automatically connected customers to another carrier for 911 calls.

The fresh details offer a glimpse of the options considered by Rogers during the blanket outage that knocked out mobile, landline and internet service to millions of customers across Canada on July 8.

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The company says it was unable to route most 911 calls or deliver four emergency alerts during the service disruption.

Rogers says despite competitors offering assistance during the outage, it was unable to switch customers to a rival carrier.

It says doing so would have required access to parts of its system that were down during the outage.

Competing networks, Rogers said in its submissions, would not have been able to handle the extra sudden volume of wireless customers, which the company pegged at more than 10.2 million.

It said the related voice and data traffic surge could have impeded operations on the other carriers’ networks.

Meanwhile, Rogers considered shutting down its radio access network during the outage, which would have automatically connected customers to another carrier for 911 calls. But once again, the company said the outage that took down its core system made such a shutdown impossible.

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As a result, Rogers said its radio access network remained in service and many customer phones did not automatically attempt to connect to another network.

Although the number of failed 911 calls is unknown, the company said it was able to route “thousands” of 911 calls during its network’s intermittent service while some Rogers customers were able to place emergency calls using the Bell or Telus networks.

Much of the specific information Rogers submitted to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission was redacted from the document for security and competitive purposes.

Rogers also said four emergency alerts, all issued in Saskatchewan, did not reach customers during the outage.

It said one alert from the RCMP was related to a dangerous person while three were tornado warnings issued by Environment Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2022.

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