Major telecom company signs deal to keep phone service working during future power cuts | TBEN News

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Canada’s major telecommunications companies have signed a formal agreement that could avert the worst consequences of a major outage, such as that to the Rogers network in July, the federal government announced on Wednesday.

As part of the deal, the major carriers have agreed to support and assist their competitors during any future major network outages so that customers can still make calls, reach 911 emergency services and conduct business transactions.

The companies also agreed to provide customers with “clear and timely communication” during power outages.

“The telecommunications companies have responded to our request to take meaningful actions to increase and improve network reliability in our country,” said Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne at a news conference in Vancouver.

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“The July 8 outage at Rogers was clearly unacceptable and we must continue to do everything possible to ensure that something similar does not happen in the future.”

You can read the full agreement here.

The Rogers power outage, which began early on July 8 and lasted – for some customers – for days, left millions of people without cell phones and internet access. The company later said the outage was caused by an error during an internal system update.

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Champagne said he was unhappy with the level of communication Rogers provided during the outage.

“They should have been more prominent,” he said.

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Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne announces a telecom deal in response to the Rogers outage.

Champagne said he visited Japan during the outage and contacted Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri to discuss what happened.

“I don’t think it should be the minister trying to reach the CEO of a telecommunications company when there is a major outage in the country. I think it should be the other way around,” he said.

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Champagne described the new binding agreement as just the “first step” in Ottawa’s plans to improve reliability and accountability in the industry.

The government says it has given the Canadian Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee six months to come forward with further measures “to ensure robust and reliable telecommunications networks across the country”.

Champagne said Ottawa will also move forward with a plan to build a new public safety broadband network that can be used in emergencies.