Rogers outage in Canada affects phone, internet and mobile users nationwide

Rogers Canadian Telecommunications is experiencing a major outage affecting landlines, cellular connections and internet connectivity across Canada which began early this morning. Descent detector listed thousands of reports for the issues that flooded in when people started getting up around 5 a.m. and couldn’t log in.

Rogers first addressed the outage in a tweet from his official support account just before 9 a.m. ET, then went silent for a few hours. Friday afternoon, the the company tweeted that its technical teams are working to restore services “alongside our global technology partners, and are making progress”. There is still no ETA for restoration, even after services have been available for about 12 hours nationwide. In a follow-up tweetthe company promised it would “proactively credit all customers” and said it had “all technical resources and partners” working to restore its network.

Cloudflare Radar chart showing the change in traffic to and from Rogers dropping to zero early this morning,
Image: Cloudflare

Radar Cloud Flare shows communication between its load sharing network and Rogers in Canada showing its normal overnight pattern before dropping to zero around 3-4am ET and recording a flat line ever since. At the same time, there was a massive spike in Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) announcements for the network that indicate routing changes.

In a blog post published on Friday afternoon, Cloudflare staff speculated that the outage was the result of an internal error at Rogers, as opposed to a cyberattack or some other cause. They cited this pattern of BGP advertisements, noting that since the Rogers network no longer advertises its presence, the rest of the Internet cannot find it. BGP is a fundamental piece of technology that helps move information from one place to another on the Internet, and a problem with BGP routing information was the cause of a massive Facebook network outage last fall.

The breakdown has also disconnected Interacthe network used by Canadian banks, disabling debit cards, ATMs and wire transfer services that recently nicked more than a billion transactions in one year.

Passport offices and The Revenue Agency collecting taxes in Canada are among the government services that are unavailable today due to the outage. The two agencies also warned users that the outage cuts off multi-factor authentication codes sent by voice or text message, so people who are logged out may not be able to log in at this time.

Even the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which regulates broadcasting and telecommunications, says her phones don’t work due to the breakdown.

NetBlocks Internet Network Disruption Tracker real-time shared data showing that Canada’s national connectivity has dropped to just 75% of normal levels.

A CBC News report noted that Rogers subsidiary Fido is also having issues. The article says problems have plagued card payment processing and ATMs across Canada. A CBC radio station in Kitchener, Ontario is also offline, and certain telephone services for the Ottawa Transit Agency have been eliminated. Pictures of Toronto show people crammed into cafes or heading to the library to access Wi-Fi now that their other options are offline.

TekSavvy Customer Service told customers the outage expands to “Ontario, Quebec and Eastern Provinces”, with no ETA for resolution, while the Radio Canada reports that Thunder Bay operator Tbaytel says the Rogers outage is nationwide.

Toronto Police tweeted early in the morning after some people in the city had connection issues when calling 911. “The Rogers network is experiencing technical difficulties,” the Toronto Police Operations Twitter account said. “We are working to resolve these issues.” In a follow-up tweetpolice confirmed that their 911 center is operational and advised anyone who needs to call to stay on the line if they connect and to try again if they don’t.

Update at 9:52 a.m. ET: Added Bank of Montreal information

Update at 11:20 a.m. ET: Outage noted, added information from Cloudflare Radar, TekSavvy and Tbaytel

Update at 11:33 a.m. ET: Added statement from Rogers

Update at 12:40 p.m. ET: Added latest NetBlocks update

Update at 1:31 p.m. ET: Added additional information on the Interac banking network, — thank you, mbarriault.

Updated at 2:13 p.m. ET: Added information on CRTC, Passport Offices and Tax Services Outage.

Updated 3:39 p.m. ET: Added Cloudflare’s notes on BGP as a possible cause of the outage, along with Rogers’ statement that they are “making progress” in resolving the issue.

Update at 5:56 p.m. ET: Added statement from Rogers regarding customer credit.