Oxio warns of internet slowdowns for Ontario customers due to July 8 Rogers outage

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Independent internet service provider (ISP) Oxio reached out to its Ontario customers via email Saturday to warn of potential slowdowns during peak hours (between 8pm and 10pm). Moreover, it requested customers try to not perform speed tests as it will “clog up the lines” and cause more slowdowns.

You can read a longer explanation below if you’re interested in the details of the internet in Canada, but the short version of what’s going on is Oxio needed a capacity increase from Rogers because of its growing customer base. Oxio requested that increase, but didn’t get it because of the July 8th outage, and is now stuck waiting for Rogers to resume performing network changes to get the increase it needs.

Oxio emailed customers to explain what was going on because it “promised to be up front” about everything. The main takeaways from the email include that Oxio is working on the problem with Rogers and the Competitive Network Operators of Canada (CNOC) since other ISPs might be affected. Another takeaway is that Ontario customers (disclosure, I am one) might experience slowdowns because of this.

Rogers halted network changes, pushing back Oxio’s capacity increase

A segment of the Oxio email explaining what’s going on with Rogers.

Oxio says that its growing customer base requires an increase in capacity in Ontario, and since Oxio runs on Rogers in the province, it needs to purchase capacity from Rogers. However, issues related to the July 8th Rogers outage — called ‘Red Friday’ by some — resulted in Oxio not getting the capacity increase that it needed.

In the email, Oxio explained that it submitted a request to Rogers to increase capacity on June 22nd, and the change was supposed to go into effect on July 7th. Oxio said Rogers didn’t increase capacity when it was supposed to (apparently, “this is pretty normal” with Rogers). However, unlike previous capacity increases, Oxio says Rogers implemented a “company-wide change embargo” after Red Friday.

Again, Oxio says this is pretty normal after an outage since network changes are responsible for most problems. Rogers has already detailed how its maintenance update caused a cascading problem through its core network that ultimately took out wireline, wireless, and several other services nationwide.

The embargo was set to end on July 18th. However, Rogers extended it several times, leaving Oxio with no scheduled date for the capacity increase:

“Since then, Rogers has extended their change embargo twice. The first time until July 25, 2022 and, recently, again for an indeterminate period, which means there’s no scheduled date to complete our request for additional capacity.”

Oxio says it’s not “too worried” about the embargo since it hasn’t hit maximum capacity yet. However, the company says its “rapid growth, means [it is] quickly running out of bandwidth,” which could lead to slowdowns at peak times.

Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. Oxio also told customers it hopes “to have all of this sorted before you notice anything.” The company says it’s talking with “the right people at Rogers” and has reached out to the CNOC because it likely isn’t the only other independent ISP impacted by the Rogers embargo.

Ultimately, if you’re with Oxio or another ISP that runs on Rogers’ network, you may want to keep an eye out for potential slowdowns and avoid doing speed tests until this all gets sorted out.

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