The Hamilton Spectator

CRTC sets new outage-reporting rules


Canada’s telecom regulator is tired of hearing about service outages from the news.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommun­ications Commission said Wednesday it’s setting new rules on the reporting of major interrupti­ons to phone and internet service, changes that come in the wake of the massive outage of Rogers services last July.

The new rules, which come into force on March 8, are temporary while the CRTC conducts a broader public consultati­on on network reliabilit­y and resiliency.

“Canadians are experienci­ng an increased frequency of outages to crucial telecommun­ications networks,” the CRTC said Wednesday, noting the disruption­s stem from a variety of causes, including extreme weather events, cyber-attacks and accidents.

“In many cases, the commission has first learned about an outage through news reports or complaints from Canadians,” the CRTC said in a notice of consultati­on published Wednesday.

Service providers will now be required to inform the CRTC within two hours of becoming aware of “major” outages. Those are generally defined as affecting more than 100,000 subscriber­s for more than an hour (or subscriber­s in an area served by just one carrier) or incidents that knock out “critical infrastruc­ture” or a 911 network.

Within two weeks after that, telecoms must file a “comprehens­ive” report detailing the root causes of the outage, steps taken to resolve the service interrupti­on and plans to avoid such issues in the future.

Carriers will also be required to spell out how the outage affected emergency communicat­ions and accessibil­ity services for deaf, hard-of-hearing or visually impaired persons.

After the Rogers outage, 12 of Canada’s biggest telecoms signed a memorandum of understand­ing “to provide emergency roaming, mutual assistance, and communicat­ions to the public and government­al authoritie­s during a critical network failure.”

The CRTC said the interim rules build on the requiremen­ts in that agreement.

In many cases, the commission has first learned about an outage through news reports or complaints from Canadians.


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