How Rogers' July 2022 Outage Changed the Telecom Industry

On July 8th, 2022, Rogers customers woke up to a communications nightmare. Wireless and wireline customers lost access to services and couldn’t make phone calls, send texts, or use the internet. Brands using Rogers services, like TekSavvy, were also impacted, along with access to emergency services. Businesses couldn’t accept debit transactions through Interac (which also used Rogers network), subjecting some only to accept cash.

The cause? A maintenance update led routers to malfunction. But even a year on, a detailed picture has yet to be presented. While Rogers did make filings with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), a lot of the detail was redacted under privacy concerns, shielding the true impact of the outage from public view.

It took 48 hours for Rogers to restore services to the “vast majority” of customers, while others had to wait much longer. Rogers offered five days’ worth of credit to more than 13 million customers. The company vowed to separate wireless and wireline traffic to prevent a repeat.

The Rogers outage served as a small shifting point in the way Canadians used telecom services. Innovation, Science, and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne directed major telecom providers to agree on emergency roaming, mutual assistance and a communications protocol in the event of future outages. More than a dozen companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

Businesses also made steps to change things. According to research Cradlepoint released in May, 74 percent of organizations in Canada made changes in the past six months to ensure their businesses won’t suffer from a major outage. A further 92 percent of surveyed businesses believed good connectivity would help them deal with unexpected changes. The figures are based on 500 responses collected from various businesses.

In such situations, parametric insurance can play a vital role in mitigating the financial risks associated with digital infrastructure disruptions. Parametric insurance is a type of coverage that pays out based on predefined triggers, such as the duration or magnitude of an outage. By having parametric insurance in place, organizations and businesses can receive timely compensation to help cover the financial losses incurred during an outage.

For example, if a telecommunications company experiences a significant disruption like the Rogers outage, parametric insurance could provide compensation based on predetermined criteria, such as the duration of the outage exceeding a certain threshold. This financial support can help businesses recover more quickly, enabling them to restore services, compensate affected customers, and invest in preventive measures to minimize future risks.

Furthermore, the incident prompted government intervention and collaboration among telecom providers to enhance emergency protocols, mutual assistance, and communication strategies during outages. By combining such measures with parametric insurance, the digital infrastructure ecosystem can strengthen its resilience and response capabilities. Parametric insurance acts as a complementary tool, working alongside preventive measures and regulatory frameworks to ensure the continuity and reliability of critical digital services.

While not at the same scale, outages have continued to impact Canadians. Rogers customers in central Ontario experienced an outage in May. Bell customers in Ontario also experienced outages, including in Kingston and Brantford.

At Riskwolf, we understand the importance of being prepared for unexpected events like outages. With our unique real-time data and dynamic risk modeling, we enable insurers to build and operate parametric insurance at scale. Simple. Reliable. Fast. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help protect your business.

(Read more: MobileSyrup)

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