In July 2022, there was a widespread outage of cell phone and Internet services in Canada. What is the CRTC doing to ensure Canadians receive more reliable service?

Telecommunications networks can go down, causing an outage. When this happens, users may not be able to access the Internet. Outages can also affect cellular phones, home phones, and other services.

The CRTC wants telecommunications providers to:

  • prevent outages
  • reduce the length and impact of outages
  • improve reliability
  • maintain an adequate level of service during an outage (network resiliency)

To further this goal, the CRTC is holding a series of consultations. The first consultation will focus on outage reporting. Canadians are invited to have their say. Tell us what you think providers should be required to do when reporting a major outage to the CRTC, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and other authorities.

In the interim, the CRTC is directing all service providers to notify the CRTC within two hours of when they become aware of a major outage. They must file a report with the CRTC no later than 14 days after an outage.

Later, the CRTC may examine other issues, such as:

  • how to make networks more resilient
  • accessing emergency services during an outage
  • how providers communicate with users during an outage
  • compensating users due to an outage
  • the impact of outages on accessibility services
  • imposing penalties on providers due to an outage

Learn more about this consultation.

The CRTC’s Broadband Fund is also being used to improve network resiliency in Canada. The Broadband Fund provides money for projects that improve Internet access and cell phone service in underserved areas. (Read more about the Fund.)

Applicants are encouraged to propose projects that will increase the resiliency of existing telecommunications infrastructure in eligible areas in Canada.

You keep mentioning resiliency. What does that mean?

Resiliency is the ability of a network to maintain an acceptable level of service during an outage. There are many factors that can cause an outage, including:

  • maintenance issues
  • faults in systems or components
  • human error
  • extreme weather
  • power outages
  • a cyberattack
  • the accidental cutting of a network cable

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