Network Disruption Triggers Internet and Phone Outages in Canada

TORONTO — An outage on Friday at Rogers, one of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies, caused significant internet, cable and cellphone disruptions, mostly in Ontario and Quebec, the country’s most populous provinces.

The outage affected emergency services and some police services, including law enforcement agencies in Toronto and Ottawa, which were warning that some Rogers customers may not be able to connect to 911 calls. Banking services and internet access are also affected.

“We know how important it is for our customers to stay connected,” the company said in a statement Friday morning, several hours after the outage began. “We are aware of issues currently affecting our networks and our teams are fully engaged to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”

The company has tens of millions of customers across Canada and about 23,000 employees.

Rogers did not provide any details about the cause of the outage or an estimated time when service would be restored.

The Communications Security Establishment, the Canadian agency responsible for cybersecurity and other national intelligence functions, offered assistance to Rogers, Evan Koronewski, an agency spokesman, said.

It was unclear if the outage might have been caused by an external intrusion into Rogers’ network.

In Hamilton, Ontario, a city west of Toronto, clerks at downtown coffee shops told growing lines of customers that they would be unable to pay with debit cards, the dominant payment form in Canada, because of the outage. Those without cash faced challenges since many nearby bank machines were also down.

Passport Canada said the outage was also affecting some of its call centers at a time when the summer travel season had increased passport requests.

The major service disruption comes as the company is in the midst of attempting to acquire Shaw Communications, in one of the largest telecom takeovers in Canada.

Ian Austen contributed reporting from Hamilton, Ontario.

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