Calgary businesses have a new stock of unclosed tabs and I owe it to them after a nationwide Rogers Communications outage left many unable to accept debit card payment for most of Friday.
The Toronto-based telecommunications giant’s services were disrupted Friday morning, leaving many customers without internet or phone access and disrupting the availability of 911 services and debit transactions across the country. . Service was mostly restored on Saturday morning.
“Things are better today. Yesterday we just got over it,” Jamesons Pub owner Harry Dimitriadis told Postmedia on Saturday. “It was definitely not ideal. Delay everything. Slow down the service; It slows down the whole operation.
Deborah Yedlin, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, called it a “nightmare” scenario for local businesses when the Calgary Stampede began on Friday, which rings true for the manager of Red’s Diner, a local. for breakfast at Ramsay near the Stampede. gardens.
“It was a very difficult time for us,” said Nichole Casey. “We had people saying, ‘I don’t have credit and I don’t have cash,’ and the ATMs wouldn’t let them get money. It was horrible”.
Stampede is usually a big boost for businesses in and around the festival, but Casey and Dimitriadis said things are off to a slower start after the Day 1 bump. Both businesses are left trying to close unpaid bills left in the wake. of the interruption.
“Some people promised they would come back and pay for it… or we just had to promote it; unfortunately the business will pay for that,” Casey said.
“It’s a good thing it was only the first day; We are normally busier during the week as Stampede progresses and I am so happy it was just that one day. … We’re back and going, but you could say it definitely took its toll yesterday.”
Dimitriadis said he’s not too concerned about the open tabs, saying many of them were regulars and he’s confident they’ll be back soon. He observed multiple interactions that he listened to as the business crowd arrived for lunch, not wanting to log out of their devices and unable to contact colleagues or check work email during the lunch hour.
“You could literally see (people) panicking from the anxiety they felt. We all work in real time nowadays, right? she said, adding he too felt it as he made his way between the two pub locations, having to stop to find WiFi so he could communicate with his employees.
“I’m a Rogers customer, so I wasn’t getting emails, I wasn’t getting texts. … It’s shocking how exposed we are when we don’t have the ability to access our technology right now.”
Despite issues with opening day payouts, the Calgary Stampede broke its Day 1 daily attendance record with 130,177 people walking through the gates. In 2019, the first day of the Stampede saw 127,777 admissions.
“I think like everyone yesterday, Rogers impacted us in a big way … a lot of people were affected in terms of our guests, but also our vendors,” Stampede spokeswoman Kristen Anderson said.
“We had a lot of ATMs available and we accept multiple forms of payment, so it was a challenge, but we tried to get through it as best we could.”
Anderson said debit services in Stampede were back up and running on Saturday.
Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner is urging a government investigation into how the blackout happened to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Rempel Garner has previously called for regulatory reform in Canada’s telecommunications industry.
“This disruption underscores another potential risk provided by the current federal regulatory structure. Namely, a potentially significant national vulnerability to prolonged service interruption given the lack of diversity in Canada’s telecommunications providers,” he wrote in a letter Friday to members of the federal standing committee on industry and technology.
As of late Saturday afternoon, Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri said service had been restored and the company’s “networks and systems are almost fully operational.” In a written statement, Staffieri said the company is continuing to monitor its network for issues and investigating the root cause of problems.
“We now believe we have narrowed the cause down to a network system failure following a maintenance update on our core network, which caused some of our routers to malfunction on Friday morning,” he said.
Staffieri apologized for the outage, adding that “we are particularly concerned that some customers were unable to reach emergency services and we are addressing the issue as an urgent priority.”
Rogers said it will proactively credit customers for the outage, but did not provide details on the number or how many customers were affected. The company said it is aware of spam text messages claiming to offer the credit and that customers will receive the credit automatically.
— With archives from The Canadian Press