Separating wireless and wireline networks will cost Rogers $250 million, CEO reveals at committee hearing [updated]

Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri said the company has "been as transparent as we can be"

Rogers will pay $250 million to separate its wireless and wireline networks.

CEO Tony Staffieri revealed the figure while being questioned by the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology.

MobileSyrup previously reported that the company would separate the two to prevent wireless (such as 5G and LTE) and wireline services (fibre, for example) from going down simultaneously in the event of a future outage.

“We failed to deliver on our promise to be Canada’s most reliable network,” Staffieri told the committee.

The CEO said the company has “been as transparent as we can be” when reporting on the outage. Staffieri pointed to a recent filing the company made to the CRTC, saying, “we want to share all the information on this outage.”

However, Staffieri failed to mention that the document available for public viewing was heavily redacted. Elements describing the specifics of the outage, recovery efforts, and the number of customers impacted in each province were removed.

Further illuminating the trail of disconnect, Staffieri went on to say Canadians have “alternative and they have choice,” when speaking on competition in Canada’s telecom market.

Staffieri said little regarding Rogers’ merger with Shaw, which is waiting on approval from the Competition Bureau and Innovation and Science and Economic Development Canada.

Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne appeared before the committee before Staffieri and was also questioned on the Shaw merger. Champagne previously stated regulators will take the outage into consideration when deciding on the merger. He offered little detail beyond this at the hearing, saying his department will examine the merger once an application is submitted.

Champagne further told the committee that he was the one to reach out to Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri and that it should have been the other way around. Champagne was in Tokyo at the time of the outage.

The Minister said he contacted Rogers CEO, as well as the CEOs of Bell and Telus. He has instructed Canada’s wireless carriers to create a framework to help each other when network outages occur.

Ian Scott, the chair of the CRTC, said the regulatory body will make sure Rogers follows through on its promises to do better.

Scott said the CRTC is reviewing the answers Rogers provided and will use them to determine how to proceed. Scott couldn’t answer questions about possible punishments Rogers could face.

“We have not even barely begun our examination. I can’t reach a conclusion before we have evidence,” Scott said.

Updated 25/07/2022 3:56pm EST: The article has been updated following the CRTC’s appearance at the meeting.

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