It’s Not Just the Outage, It’s the Communication

A multi-coloured map of the earth showing which countries have which kind of Internet. It's too complicated to figure out but it's pretty with purples, yellows, greens, etc.

It didn’t take long to realize we wouldn’t get any work done on Friday.

It was clear that we were powerless. Internet and phone service were down. We were also grateful that we didn’t have unreasonable bosses breathing down our necks.

So, we knocked some errands off our list. Got our Covid booster shots. Enjoyed that building’s Wi-Fi while we waited. Sent notes to overseas clients to tell them what was going on. Picked up groceries. Bought Derek new shorts that compensate for his 30+ lbs. weight loss.

Once I let clients know it wasn’t business as usual, it was OK. We accepted it.

Website access returned briefly on Saturday. Then it vanished again. An email from Rogers’ CEO arrived Sunday as I enjoyed a networking lunch and strong Wi-Fi at GT’s on the Beach. In it, Tony Staffieri accepted responsibility for the mass outage and pronounced service restored.

Not even close.

I was only able to post an early draft of this piece on Monday because of mobile data I can access outside of our town. Service wasn’t restored. At home, we had email, and access to exactly three websites. Full service didn’t come back until noon Monday. That’s 24 hours after receiving that annoying email from Staffieri.

I’m not even quibbling about how long it took “normal” to return. I’m annoyed by two things: that Rogers said nothing during the first few hours of the outage. And that the CEO pronounced it fixed when it clearly wasn’t.


It’s Rogers COMMUNICATIONS! It’s not just what they provide. They claim to be experts at it. They are not.

Empathy. Kindness. Honesty. They go a long way. We are people who lost real money because of the outage. Reputations were affected. Parents couldn’t reach children. Children couldn’t reach parents. People experienced much more serious problems than mine. Customers already view fat corporate giants as heartless, soulless greedy pigs. Rogers’ behavior though this crisis gave us no reason to think otherwise.

I hold Rogers in slightly higher esteem than Bell because of my great experience working for Rogers. My experience working for Bell doesn’t stack up. Neither did my experiences as a Bell customer. But this could have happened to either company. Switching everything to Bell now would be, in my opinion, as risky as having everything with Rogers. I see that now.


What matters most is how we respond. When we lived in the country we had both Rogers and Bell internet. If one was spotty, the other usually worked. We are doing it again. We bought another 5G phone and now have it operating as a Hotspot. If one service goes down, we’ll have the other. Diversification seems to be the key to a less frustrating future for us and our businesses.

Late Monday afternoon, the federal Industry Minister announced he had spoken to the CEOs of Rogers and Bell. If a similar outage happens again, the other company will have to provide service to those taken offline. In Friday’s case, Bell would have had to let Rogers customers onto its network.

It sounds like a logistical nightmare. But I’m crying no tears for either company. Rogers Communications’ revenue is up this year. The company reported $392-million in profit during Q1. For Bell in the same time period: $934-million. We pay among the highest rates for Internet in the world. And as I wrote those numbers, I silently instructed my fingers to not write words that rhyme with spit and truck.

3 thoughts on “It’s Not Just the Outage, It’s the Communication”

  1. As a former I.T. Professional and Network admin I had a good idea of what happened right out of the box and the reasons behind it, a lack of testing before a major install or upgrade which cascaded. The more major the potential impact, the greater the testing however there is always that hand on your back pushing you to get it done sooner and faster and when you try to explain they don’t care or realise the effect if something goes wrong. I lost my Internet and home WY-FI which also ment none of my smart home devices worked but I did have cell service for its on Bell. To fix the problem, anyone with an MBA isn’t invited to the discussion!

    1. Yep, my husband called it too. He said on Friday it was probably an update that they didn’t have a way to back out of. He worked in IT all of his career and replaced a guy who did an update that caused a 3 day outage on their network in the 70s.

      Our only Rogers service is my cell and it’s not my main source of communication. I only have them for the cell service because I have a really great deal on data. I went into my office on Friday to see if an online meeting was going to happen, it didn’t. But I’m glad I went in. One of my office neighbours had his cell, business phone and business internet on Rogers. I gave him my wi-fi password so he could at least access the internet.

      Hopefully the events of last weekend will be a wakeup call and a teachable moment for the government, Bell and Rogers.

  2. It doesn’t help when the explanation the CEO offers is a mix of corporate and technical mumbo jumbo that doesn’t really explain everything. But I see from reading your post that the answer is as clear as day: When Derek loses weight, cell networks go down.

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