13 Canadian operators agree to emergency roaming and mutual assistance commitments

Major telecoms network operators in Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Telecommunications Reliability ‘to ensure the reliability and resiliency of communications networks that are a significant lifeline for those in need during natural disasters, network failures and other impactful emergencies.’ The action was ordered by Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne in response to a massive outage on the Rogers network in July. Participating companies – Rogers, Bell, Telus, Eastlink, Cogeco, SaskTel, Shaw (including Freedom Mobile), Tbaytel, Telesat, Videotron, Xplornet and Zayo – agreed to three main Protocols: Emergency Roaming; Mutual Assistance; and the Emergency Network Outage Communications Protocol. canada emergency roaming

The Minister noted that, from 9 September: ‘Should one of these providers be faced with a major network outage, the other companies have committed to provide the support and assistance necessary so that Canadians can reach loved ones, access 911, and conduct business transactions. As part of this agreement, the companies also commit to providing clear and timely communications to keep Canadians and appropriate authorities informed about response and restoration during major network outages.’

A series of additional steps are being worked on, including: canada emergency roaming

    • The Canadian Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (CSTAC) is examining further measures (within six months) to ensure robust and reliable telecommunications networks across the country.
    • The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is pursuing a detailed investigation of Rogers’ recent outage, including new measures the latter is putting in place.
    • Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada (ISED) is reviewing appropriate regulatory measures to be implemented aimed at strengthening the reliability and safety of networks.
    • Work on a Public Safety Broadband Network is also progressing. canada emergency roaming

“The Rogers outage of July 8th was unacceptable, and we must do everything possible to ensure something similar does not happen again in the future,” Champagne said.

In a statement, Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri said the agreement is part of the company’s journey to regain Canadians’ trust. “I want to acknowledge the hard work and collaboration from our fellow industry stakeholders which speaks to the strength of our shared commitment to Canadians,” Staffieri said.

The Minister has also outlined a number of other actions, including giving the Canadian Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (CSTAC) six months to create more measures to ensure reliable networks across the country.

Champagne has also directed his department to review regulatory measures that will strengthen network safety. Along with the Minister of Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, Champagne is also supporting the Public Safety Broadband Network.

“As we move forward, I will continue to hold Canada’s telecommunications service providers accountable, and keep Canadians updated on the work our government is doing to strengthen the reliability of our networks and granting affordability and competition,” Champagne said.


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