What is the CRTC doing about cell phone and Internet outages?

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

The CRTC expects telecommunications providers to:

  • prevent outages
  • reduce the length and impact of outages
  • improve service reliability
  • maintain an adequate level of access to emergency services during an outage

As a first step, the CRTC held a consultation about what phone and Internet service providers should be required to do when reporting a major service outage.

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 also file a report with the CRTC no later than 14 days after an outage.

In the future, 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

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.

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