Rogers Communications Inc.’s chief executive says the telecom will invest in more testing and oversight as well as artificial intelligence to make its network more reliable following this month’s nationwide outage.
In total, the Toronto-based telecom plans to spend $10-billion over the next three years on improving network reliability, Rogers president and CEO Tony Staffieri said in an open letter to customers on Sunday.
The wireless giant will also physically separate its wireless and wireline core networks to ensure that any future outages don’t affect both services, Mr. Staffieri said.
The telecom has vowed to regain the trust of its customers after a massive outage on July 8 left millions without wireless, internet and home phone services. The service disruption also affected the Interac debit system and left Rogers customers unable to call 911.
The company has said that the outage was triggered by a coding error as part of a maintenance upgrade to its core network. That set off a cascade of events that caused the company’s network to fail.
Mr. Staffieri said Rogers has made progress towards reaching a formal agreement with other wireless carriers that would allow them to automatically switch 911 calls to each other’s networks in the event of an outage.
“I believe this is the only responsible way forward and I am personally committed to making it possible for all Canadians,” Mr. Staffieri said.
The wireless giant is also partnering with technology firms to conduct a full review of its network and learn as much as possible from the outage, Mr. Staffieri said, adding that the telecom will share those lessons with industry peers.
Rogers executives are scheduled to appear in front of the House of Commons committee on industry and technology on Monday to discuss the outage. The committee, which is made up of members of Parliament from all four major federal parties, is studying the incident.
Rogers replaced its chief technology officer, former Vodafone executive Jorge Fernandes, with Ron McKenzie following the service disruption. Mr. McKenzie, a telecom industry veteran who was previously the president of Rogers for Business, the division that offers wireless and internet services to corporate clients, will appear in front of the House of Commons committee, along with Mr. Staffieri and the company’s chief regulatory officer, Ted Woodhead.
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