More Rogers Ranting

February 13th, 2006 by Potato

In a conversation, I don’t know how it got started, we were talking about how crappy Rogers has been treating its high speed customers. They have a monopoly on high speed internet in many areas (because Bell’s DSL is very picky on the acceptable distance to the telephone company and the quality of the line into the house), and let’s face it: even though the government may consider the presence of dial-up as a competitive option and thus don’t regulate Rogers like a monopoly… dial-up is not the same thing at all.

Anyhow, we were whining about the torrent throttling, the increased and spikey ping times from the crappy packet inspection hardware, cancelling newsgroup service, as well as older things like the switch to geocities wbpages and the junky front page, and then having the nerve to follow it all up with a price hike coming in the next few months (as well as the reintroduction of the modem rental fees).

So, one person determined that Rogers is sacrificing the internet quality (with the throttling, etc.) in order to have the upload capabilities for their new home phone service. Basically, Rogers is trying to become the largest telecommunications company there is, and is directly competing with Bell for the phone market now. They did this buy buying up AT&T, Sprint, and Fido, and introducing the digital phones that partially run on their own cable internet network. After spending that much on the phone sector, they don’t have the money or will to upgrade their internet systems, and probably won’t until they absolutely have to (whether it’s because they become even more non-functional as more people with high speed try to do more than just check their email, or because Bell finally gets DSL working at more than 4 km from the telco office and actually offers up some competition in most markets).

Here’s my response to that:

Rogers is exploiting/leveraging their de facto monopoly on high speed/cable internet in order to move into the telephone playground.

Personally, I think it’s really short-sighted of them to be neglecting the cable internet customers and infrastructure as much as they are, and I think it’ll bite them in the rear as soon as a real high-bandwidth alternative comes around, which may be around the corner if a miraculous discovery extending the range of DSL or the quality of phone line it requires happens soon. (if I win a billion dollars in the lottery, I’d totally invest it in building my own fibre optic infrastructure through Ontario to wipe the floor with Rogers just on principle… too bad the odds are low and the payouts only go up to a few million rather than billion)

The home phone sector just doesn’t seem like a big enough prize to sacrifice what was a reasonably decent internet empire for. Sure, everybody has a phone, so the market’s bigger… but in a home phone service, once you have met the not terribly stringent level of voice quality most people expect, and those few add-on packages people want (call display, voicemail, etc.), you’re only competing on price and brand name/corporate trust & service. Things that Rogers is not particularly well known for.

Whereas with high speed internet, you have your peak speeds to go on (or the reliability of those speeds no matter the time of day or neighbourhood), your bitcaps (if any), your ping times/routing, your email servers, your webhosting, newshosting, “premium content”, your network up-time, as well as price, brand name, and level of service (do you have techs just to solve problems, or also ones to help you set up your computer’s software when you get started?).

It just seems to me like a better sector to stay in and dominate properly, than to gut for a stab at an admittedly larger sector that you’re not really suited for.

I have to wonder if Rogers is getting into it just simply to spite Bell for getting into TV with their ExpressVu service.

5 Responses to “More Rogers Ranting”

  1. Netbug Says:

    Meh, it’s not really a bandwidth issue. I have the benefit of seeing the backend here and the utilization is usually less than 15% on most headends, plus, there are separate headends for the phone service (Co-ax cable itself can carry an insane amount of raw bandwidth. Think of all the channels that you get through digital).

  2. Ben Says:

    What’s this about a price hike and modem rental fees?

  3. Potato Says:,15193880

    That’s one source of the rumours…

    Less than 15%? That’s lower than most people on dslreports have been guessing. Is that for total throughput or upload? It seems to be the upload that they’re worried about…

    Interesting that the phone service has its own head-ends, everyone’s been guessing that it needs to share the bandwidth on the local node (after which, it can jump to its own network), after all, the worst of the throttling occurred right as the home phone service was released.

  4. Netbug Says:

    Remember it’s an asymetric connection. The upload and download are throttled vastly different for a reason. Joe User just sends requests for files and then waits for his pirated copy of Serenity (THAT ASS) to download.

    So the upload allocation is a lot smaller. And ya, I was referring to upload and download utilization. The bottlenecks occur (rarely now, not like in early 2000 when everyboy was getting them) when there is a node that gets overpopulated. Most nodes these days have less than 50 people on them (they can hold about 250 at capacity without performance impairment, and we do occasionally see nodes with upwards of 400 which have problems, but it’s rare).

    For more Rogers bashing, check out… uhhh… (I think).

  5. Potato Says:

    The really weird thing is that for applications like bittorrent, it should be the upload Rogers is worried about (since you’re expected to upload as much as you download for the health of the swarm — but the connection is made to have something more like a 10:1 ratio in favour of downloading). However, many people are finding that they’re still uploading plenty and just can’t download anything. It’s a weird way of blocking certain packet headers or something…

    I’ve never had great speeds with Rogers (my parents’ house was blazing at first, but it’s been in the 500 kbps dumps for about 4-5 years now), and here in London I can top 2 Mbps at 4 am, but it’s more like 1 Mbps through the day (on extreme). I don’t actually mind — those are acceptable speeds for me, as long as everything works.

    Like I said in my letter, I do see the logic and necessity for some limit to “unlimited” service. However, the 60 GB (or 100 GB for the new extreme profile) is plenty of limit — no need to get ridiculous picking and choosing apps to throttle on top of that. And if throttling is necessary, then do it sensibly: making things go slower than dial-up forces people to look for work-arounds. If it even left 10% of available bandwidth during peak times, most people wouldn’t complain, especially if it opened up again for off-peak. Downloading large files overnight (even on high speed) has been around forever: I remember early on, the best feature of ICQ was that it would keep a connection to my dial-up ISP open so I could run the 90 MB download of the Diablo demo overnight.