News tagged: Rogers Hi-Speed
Yesterday Canadian regulators the CRTC issued an interesting ruling
: the agency declared that cable operators in the country must now start unbundling cable channels. According to the CRTC, operators like Rogers, Shaw and Bell must offer a "skinny bundle" of channels for at least $25 a month. Above that, Canadian cable TV providers will be forced to require consumers with a la carte channel choices at "reasonable prices."
It may take a while for Canadian consumers to reap the benefits; cable operators don't have to fully adhere to the rules until December 2016.
"Canadians, who choose to do so, will be able to supplement the entry-level television service by buying individual channels that will be available either on a pick-and-pay basis or through small, reasonably priced packages," the CRTC said in a statement
. "If they so choose, they will have the option of selecting theme-based packages—such as sports, lifestyle or comedy—offered by their service providers."
Cable operators were quick to complain that the ruling would hurt business. Others quickly lamented
that the ruling would only act to confuse customers and actually drive prices up
. But Canadian law professor Michael Geist points out
that many TV sector analysts actually expect consumers to notably save money with the move:
Maher Yaghi of Desjardins Capital Markets says the changes could “lead to a reduction of $5 to $10 in monthly [revenue per user] as customers get the option to choose the channels they want to watch and move discretionary money toward OTT (over-the-top) services such as Netflix."
Canaccord Genuity analyst Dvai Ghose suggests even bigger declines of $9 to $21 for some customers. In fact, Ghose notes that “current entry-level TV monthly prices for the large BDUs are as follows: Bell Fibe TV $45.95, Rogers Cable $40.48, Shaw $39.90 and Videotron $38.00 and Telus $34.00 ($29.00 if bundled).” A $25 service is obviously going to result in reduced spending for those consumers.”
Our on again, off again love affair with a la carte TV options here in the States is mostly "off" these days, with cable company claims that a la carte would destroy niche channels winning the discourse war -- for now. Still, Canada's effort (and the real impact on consumer prices and company bottom lines) should prove very interesting to watch for those of us south of the border.
You might recall that back in 2013, some DSLReports.com regulars, including University of Manitoba graduate student Ben Klass ( bklass
), filed a complaint against Bell
in Canada. Basically, they were annoyed by the fact that Bell's $5 a month Bell Mobile TV service -- which provides 10 hours of live or recorded TV show access each month -- didn't count against user usage caps, while competing services unfairly did.
Canada last week launched hearings on the possibility
of imposing new rules on the TV sector that could force TV operators to offer a la carte television options. While these rule-making efforts began as a way to do something about soaring TV rates and the lack of flexible purchase options for consumers, they've since morphed into an effort by incumbent Canadian cable operators to impose new regulations on to companies like Google and Netflix (something Canadian law Professor Michael Geist doesn't think will happen
Add Canadian cable operators Rogers and Shaw to the latest in a long list of incumbent ISPs who believe they can offer a Netflix killer that will keep cord cutters in house. According to the companies' announcement
, the service will be dubbed "shomi" and will emerge as a beta exclusively for Rogers and Shaw customers in November.
Network gear manufacturer Sandvine apparently isn't a big fan of both Netflix's and YouTube's new ISP streaming performance rankings, insisting that the data collected by both is unreliable and conflicting. In a blog post
, Sandvine points out that ISPs deemed "HD Verified" by Google's new ISP ranking (discussed by us here
) are sometimes categorized as under-performers in Netflix's rankings, and vice-versa:
Google is essentially saying Rogers’ customers who use YouTube are capable of regularly experiencing HD streams, while Netflix is saying Rogers’ subscribers are experiencing the worst quality of Netflix streaming in the country.
Documents provided by Edward Snowden last week revealed that the Canadian government (CSEC, their NSA equivalent) has been quite illegally spying on and tracking Canadian citizens
using public Wi-Fi available at Canadian airports to track movement both before and after citizens visited the airport. The specifics of how the government obtained the location data isn't made clear, but Canada's two largest airports, Toronto and Vancouver, deny providing CSEC with the data.
The Globe and Mail
highlights how the next generation of downloadable games from Sony (at 30 to 80GB) are going to really start pushing Canadian bandwidth caps, which are considerably more restrictive than those here in the States. That's before Sony even launches Playstation Now
, a gaming streaming service not unlike OnLive, or Sony's 4K video streams and downloads
-- both of which may very well start eating Canadian bandwidth caps like popcorn shrimp. "The debate over Canada’s usage caps will either spark up again or the company will have to purposely degrade PlayStation Now in Canada, the same way Netflix did to its service, or both," notes the paper.
Rogers has been hounding Ontario resident Dave Johnson for three years about unpaid bills, resulting in credit collection agencies pursuing him and a ruined credit rating. The problem? Johnson has never had Rogers cable service. According to the CBC
, Dave Johnson was hounded by debt collectors even after making it clear to them he never had service with Rogers, the news outlet illustrating numerous similar problems with Rogers and their debt collectors. Rogers admits to the CBC they were pursuing the wrong Dave Johnson, but insists that "generally the system works" while foisting any blame on the shoulders of debt collection agencies.
Canadian lawmakers say they're working on new rules
that would require Canadian cable operators to offer a la carte content to consumers. "We don't think it's right for Canadians to have to pay for bundled television channels that they don't watch," said Canadian Industry Minister James Moore. "We want to unbundle television channels and allow Canadians to pick and pay the specific television channels that they want." There's a majority interest in more flexible channel options
here in the States, but usually only fleeting lip service by cable operators when it comes to providing them -- a la carte or otherwise.
Last month independent Canadian ISP TekSavvy all-but accused Rogers Communications of intentionally bumbling customer install and repair orders
, creating a massive backlog of issues in order to help drive their competitors out of business. When I spoke to Rogers the company denied blame
, instead blaming TekSavvy for missing necessary support forecasts and somehow "overwhelming" Rogers third party support resources.
As I noted last week
, indie Canadian ISP TekSavvy has been struggling with prolonged disconnections for many of their users, something the company says is because of changes at Canadian incumbent Rogers. To hear TekSavvy tell it, the company suddenly and inexplicably found their install and repair trouble tickets being ignored by Rogers; months of this contributing to a backlog of support issues that have caused massive headaches for the company and customers alike.
Indie Canadian ISP TekSavvy
isn't having a very good summer, and it appears Canadian incumbent Rogers is to thank for much of it. You'll probably recall that over the last few years independent Canadian ISP has built quite a name for itself for being a more consumer-friendly sort of ISP.
If you've watched any of them do business for more than a few minutes, it has been amusing to watch Canadian incumbents Bell, Telus and Rogers kick, scream and cry about Verizon's possible entry into the Canadian market
. Their Fair for Canada
TV and radio campaign has employees reading scripted statements proclaiming that Verizon will steal Canadian jobs and generally make Canadian wireless service (already some of the most expensive anywhere) worse.
Canadian incumbents Telus, Bell and Rogers have recently fired up attack campaigns
attempting to keep Verizon Wireless from entering their market. The campaign
uses incumbent employees reading from scripts to insist that Canadian telcos simply want a "level playing field" and that Verizon will kill jobs.
As we've noted repeatedly, ISPs are so hungry to cash in on caps and overages, they're rushing toward implementing meters without making sure they work. Canadian cable operator Cogeco has been the absolute worst on this front, implementing metered usage charges back in 2009 -- and four years later still often struggling to measure usage correctly. story continues..
Back in May our users uncovered a Canadian scam being run by several individuals who were pretending to be entirely fake ISPs
in order to collect customer cash and private user information. Using ISP names like "Cable Gator" and "Go Cable Solutions," the scammers promise users broadband service they can't get, demand $100 down payments and personal data including SIN and driver's license numbers, then skirt off with the cash.
It has been incredibly amusing to watch Canadian incumbents Bell, Telus and Rogers, no strangers to abusive and predatory anti-competitive behavior at every opportunity, kick, scream and cry about Verizon's possible entry into the Canadian market
. Now that the predators are having to fight a real predator and the possibility of real competition, they're doing what any good, anti-competitive incumbent would do: engage in propaganda, disinformation and astroturfing to confuse the public.
With the recent news that Verizon might be eyeing an entry into the Canadian wireless market, last week Canadian incumbent Telus began crying like a spoiled child
about the remote possibility that the Canadian market could see some additional competition. Telus, a company that like U.S.
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