Champagne says Rogers outage to be factor in Shaw merger decision

A House of Commons committee also plans to look into Rogers' July 8th outage

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) Minister François-Philippe Champagne said policymakers would include Rogers’ July 8th service outage when considering the company’s proposed takeover of Shaw Communications.

As the Globe and Mail reports, Champagne told reporters at an event in Calgary on Friday that the outage will “be on the mind of the different people who need to make a decision.”

The proposed $26 billion merger would combine Canada’s two largest cable networks. However, the Competition Bureau is already trying to block the deal over concerns it will lead to poorer service and higher prices, especially for wireless customers. Rogers and Shaw have attempted to ease those concerns by striking an agreement to sell Shaw’s Freedom Mobile to Quebecor, which owns Vidéotron, for $2.85 billion. Friday was the deadline for the companies to reach a definitive agreement.

Moreover, the House of Commons committee on industry and technology adopted a motion on Friday to study the July 8th Rogers outage. The committee plans to review the cause of the outage, its impact on families, consumers and businesses, and look at measures to prevent future outages and ways to provide the public with timely information about outages.

The Globe reports that there will be at least two meetings dedicated to the study before July 30th. The committee plans to invite representatives from Rogers, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), and Champagne to appear.

A Rogers spokesperson told the Globe that the company will work with the committee to “provide details on the cause of the outage and the actions we are taking to enhance the reliability of each of our networks moving forward, including through formal mutual support agreements.”

For more on what caused the Rogers outage, check out MobileSyrup’s in-depth analysis here. Moreover, MobileSyrup detailed company plans revealed at an all-hands meeting Friday to separate wireless and wireline traffic to prevent future outages — you can read about that here.

Source: The Globe and Mail