Rogers Broadband: New Caps But No New Transparency

Earlier today, I spoke to representatives from Rogers, who advised that they are implementing new caps and fees for broadband customers.  In letters going out this week, the company will advise that their "Express" service will have a 60 GB monthly cap with an overage charge of $2 per GB up to $25 per month.  The company promises to provide customers with email warnings as they approach their cap and to provide tools to easily identify Internet usage.  While I have no particular problem with this approach, when I asked whether it would be combined with an end to traffic shaping, the response was no.  When I asked whether Rogers would at least provide greater transparency about its network management practices, I was advised that it was working on the issue.  In my view, that just isn't good enough – transparency should extend beyond how much data subscribers consume (and pay for).  Hitting consumers with new fees was the right time to address Rogers' transparency shortcomings on traffic shaping and its failure to do so suggests yet again that the CRTC and elected officials should follow the FCC lead by prioritizing the issue.


  1. Bell Leak
    This is a leaked Bell Sympatico Document from yesterday.

    Can anyone spot the similarities and convince me there is no price fixing happening between the competitors?

    Important Usage Billing Changes
    March 13, 2008

    1. Stop-sell on $25 Unlimited Usage Plan
    2. No monthly billing limit on usage overage charges
    3. Ontario Total Internet Performance now includes 60GB of usage

    • What, when, where
    • Why
    • How

    where Please read the details associated with these changes carefully.
    As of March 12th there will be a stop-sell implemented on the $25 Unlimited Usage Plan. The Unlimited Usage Plan will still be available in your ordering tools until further notice; however, we ask that you not sell this plan to a customer under any circumstance. All incentives/payouts related to selling this plan are being discontinued.

    If a customer insists on receiving unlimited usage, please soft transfer them immediately to the SCS Usage Queue via the A2A transfer application.

    Please note that the 30 GB Usage Insurance Plan @ $10/month remains available to High Speed, Ultra, Performance, Optimax & Max customers.

    & QUEBEC
    We currently have in place a monthly $30 maximum charge for any usage overage charges our customers may incur. Until June 30th, 2008 we will continue to offer all plans with a $30 max charge. New customer acquisitions on and after June 30th, 2008 will be subject to usage charges without monthly billing limits ($30 max charge no longer applicable).

    Note that this change applies to all products & tiers of service in Ontario & Quebec. Transfer any in-depth questions or concerns about this change to the SCS Usage Queue.

    For example:
    • Customer joined before June 30th, 2008 = $30 usage charge limit
    • Customer joined on or after June 30th, 2008 = no monthly billing limit
    • Note that select HS & Ultra customers will continue to receive unlimited usage as per their current agreement – transfer questions to the Usage Queue
    Included with Total Internet Performance, Ontario customers currently receive 30GB of included usage plus an additional 30GB for the duration of a customers’ contract term (total of 60GB). Effective immediately, Ontario customers will benefit from 60GB of usage included in their plan. We will no longer be promoting this as 30GB + 30GB but rather as 60GB.

    Why Industry Changes

    Over recent years, Canadian Internet service providers have gradually adapted their pricing models to include a usage-based billing component. As bandwidth-intensive activities on the Internet continue to grow in popularity, it is vital that ISP’s are able to charge a customer for usage.

    Customers are familiar with usage-based pricing given their experience with cell phones & long-distance. A customer that only uses a cell phone for emergencies will likely subscribe to a plan that includes fewer minutes than a customer who needs to use a cell phone for constant communication.

    By removing the Unlimited Usage Plan & max charges, Sympatico is taking a further step in ensuring that we are adapting appropriately in this rapidly changing market.

    Competitive Landscape

    It is important to note that Sympatico is not breaking new ground by marketing plans with no billing limits on usage overage charges. Currently Videotron also markets several of their plans with no monthly billing limits.

    In contrast, Cogeco subscribers are currently not being given an option to pay for usage incremental to what is included in their plan. Instead the customer could have their account suspended when exceeding their plan’s GB cap.

    How Positioning for customers concerned about usage charges:
    Step #1: Probe to understand the customer’s usage needs
    Step #2: Customize your offer
    o Offer a plan that suits the customer’s usage pattern and assure concerned users that there is more usage included than they would initially think – only 5% of our base exceeds 60GB / month. In fact 82% of customers stay under 10GB /month.
    o If a customer expects that they will use more than what is included in our plans – move to step 3
    Step #3: Offer a solution – the Usage Insurance Plan
    “Mr/Mrs customer, given your downloading and uploading needs, I understand that you are concerned with the amount of Internet usage included in this plan. For only $10 a month, we can offer you a Usage Insurance Plan. This plan will allow you to upload and download an additional 30GB a month, without having to sign a contract. This would bring your total monthly available usage to [insert current usage included in plan + 30GB]. Does this sound like something you would be interested in?
    Don’t forget that you can always monitor your usage online at This tool will allow you to check how close you are to reaching the amount of usage included in your plan.”

    Business Office – Procedures – Call Procedures – Usage
    SCS Technical – Procedures – Usage

  2. double speak
    pls take note to this part:

    Why Industry Changes
    \”As bandwidth-intensive activities on the Internet continue to grow in popularity, it is vital that ISP’s are able to charge a customer for usage.\”

    Allow me to rephrase it.

    As bandwidth-intensive activities on the Internet continue to grow in popularity, we have throttled the customers bandwidth and removed unlimited accounts to maximize our profit margins.

    It is vital that ISP’s (us and Rogers) are able to charge a customer for usage in addition to throttling. This will increase our income and at the same time give the customer less value for their money and at the same time keep the customer in the dark.

  3. “provide tools to easily identify Internet usage”

    I’ve tried using this tool for the past 3 months. It’s seems to work for the first 10-15 day’s and then stops showing me my usage until the next cycle.

  4. Double Irony
    Anyone else sees the irony and problem with how Rogers manages to advertise “unlimited internet service” read the fine print and find bandwidth caps. Where is the logic here?
    Everyone understands the need for profit but when the tools they provide no longer function to track the customers usage, whats the point? [ link ]

  5. Is 60GB/month a lot of bandwidth? It sounds like a lot, but then so did the 640K of RAM we were assured would be enough for any app. So what happens to bandwidth-intensive applications not yet written? They won’t get written in Canada, and if this pricing model spreads to the rest of the world they won’t get written at all. I would much rather see bandwidth throttling than capping, if for no other reason than it will allow everyone a taste of what the top tier is doing.

  6. Stephen Downes says:

    Well, and more to the point, if they’re capping bandwidth, then who cares how we’re using our oh-so-generous allotment?

  7. Actually I have Rogers Express, and that 60 gig cap has been on my account for over the past year or so since I signed on with them. I don’t think this is anything new with regards to Rogers Customers. There was a minor change with the “extreme” package pricing recently I think, but the express package was kept out of the pricing increase.

    the $2 fee over cap charge per a max of $25, I’m pretty sure that’s also in my contract I got a year ago too.

    I’ll Keep my eye’s on my e-mail and see if I get any service change notifications, and post them in the FCFC group if one comes through, but I’m pretty sure all of what you’ve mentioned has been in place for quite some time. None of this seems to be new to me.

  8. I recently got rid of my Rogers Ultra-Lite HiSpeed. I once enjoyed a 60GB level and then was recently downgraded to a 2GB level of usage. Overage fees were $5.00 per/GB up to a maximum of $25 per/mo.

    In my opinion, it\’s just Rogers self-fulfilling prophecy and nothing more. I refuse to do business with a company that dictates what I am allowed and not allowed to do on the internet, especially when I\’m the paying customer.

    The limitations in bandwidth activities, overage fees, soaring costs, throttling, traffice-shaping with Rogers was enough for me to cancel my account and move over to TekSavvy; a company that respects their customers enough to give them the freedom to play in their kingdom and not lord over their customers as the Omnipotent.

    In my opinion, Rogers can keep their internet. I\’m finished doing business with them.

  9. can i ask why a bell leak is posted on this rogers topic?

  10. @ 23:39:21
    AC: “can i ask why a bell leak is posted on this rogers topic?”
    The second line of the post has the answer. The idea is that this could be something we will soon see everywhere and that the ISP’s are talking about it.

  11. Dave Cannon says:

    Hey all. I’m not surprised of their industry collusion, frankly. The problem for me is that my apartment building is not wired properly, and so the only company I’m aware of who will service our address is Rogers. Does anyone know of any alternative ISPs in the city of Ottawa that could set up cable modem service for us so we won’t have to deal with these rat&#$*ers and their throttling/capping business?

    Considering the fact that out Government (and the CRTC specifically) will not regulate this industry for the protection of Canadian citizens, I wonder if we can have an effect as consumers by switching to other service providers?

  12. The main item of interest from that Bell leak is this:

    o Offer a plan that suits the customer’s usage pattern and assure concerned users that there is more usage included than they would initially think – only 5% of our base exceeds 60GB / month. In fact 82% of customers stay under 10GB /month.

    If you want pricing parity for all users, the all users should be equal in usage. Off the cuff comparison basically shows that the top 5% are using roughly 40% of the total bandwidth that the bottom 82% are using (60g*5% / 10g*82%).

    And that’s not fair to the bottom 82% people, because they end up paying for the majority of the infrastructure costs.

    On the other hand, the top 5% are forcing the forward movement in technology deployment, so that is good, but does that offset the unequal billing issues?

  13. R. Bassett Jr. says:

    All ISP are aweful – regulation required
    I could barely use my internet connection last night for surfing and I could not play World of Warcraft at all, because I downloaded 200MB of updates for World of Warcraft the previous day, which was enough for Xplornet (wireless) to throttle the hell out of my connection. Sadly, every day from noon – midnight the connection is aweful (worse than any DSL or Cable I have used).

    If I can’t even download updates for the online services I use without causing my service to be massively degraded, then what the hell good is my “high speed” internet connection to me?

    As it stands, I can’t update my laptop computers to Vista Service Pack 1, because of throttling. I can’t play WoW, even though I’ve paid 6 months in advance. We can barely watch youtube videos. Oh, and I can’t exit my “contract” without paying for the 17 months left on my contract, even though my service barely functions and at times does not function at all. This is the same service the City of Ottawa is paying big bucks to deliver to rural customers…

    This industry desperately needs regulation, especially when companies like Xplornet are getting huge hand outs from local governments to provide rural highspeed internet that is often ending up preforming worse than dial up!

    Sorry, but I have been brewing anger over this issue since Jan 2007 – the month after my trial period ended and my internet connection turned to pot, meaning I could no longer exit the contract without paying for 3 years of fees! Worse and worse it has gotten as more people are added to the area. Talk about “bait and switch”.

    This industry NEEDS regulation!

  14. Where to direct complaints to Rogers?
    Does anyone know to whom it is best to direct a complaint letter to at Rogers regarding the above? And not simply customer service department. Most times this is just a filter shop. I mean, anyone in particular that may give some real attention to a complaint. If Canadians direct many letters by way of the most effective addressee??

  15. No logic in Rogers caps
    Caps might make sense if they were more rational. For example, Rogers’ ultra-high-end plan, at over 10 megabits, actually has a *lower* cap than its Extreme High-Speed plan. Furthermore, if you run your ultra connection at full speed, you’ll use up your monthly alotment in less than a day.

    This just doesn’t make sense. On top of which, both response speeds and data capacity, should be getting *cheaper*, not more expensive. All of this digital technology is surely on some sort of Moore’s Law curve, but Rogers’ (and Bell’s) pricing does not reflect it. This is looking more and more like opportunistic gouging.

    Canada once led the world in Internet connectivity; now we’ve dropped back to the middle of the pack. What exactly are we paying for?

  16. Concerned Canadian says:

    *sigh* I wouldn’t expect much more from Rogers. I fear for the future of broadband in North America.

  17. Dwight Williams says:

    Well, this is a good argument against switching away from my current providers…for now.

    Keeping my eyes and ears open, with thanks to all of you for keeping me up to date.

  18. Caps, Usage, Modems
    Funny, I’ve received a letter from Rogers yesterday about Caps and Usage. I checked their web site and found that my usage record started on the very day that I was forced to trade in a old reliable modem that worked for over 10 years and replaced with a new one that seems to hiccup too many times. That was in Feb when all old modems were shutdown by Rogers. I guess that Rogers couldn’t tell how much everybody was using with the old ones. My old one was working fine with high speeds before Rogers started with the different speed packages. The caps for the old were controlled by Rogers.

  19. I had to cancel my Skype voip service as it was unusable with Rogers cable internet service. Obviously it is being blocked because it is a Rogers competitor. This practice is certainly unethical, maybe illegal. After all, I have paid for a much higher service/speed service than I need – and it isn’t there when I try to use Skype, a perfectly legal use of my internet service.

  20. Webanaut
    I to received the dreaded letter from Rogers today. I was fuming mad with what they seem to be able to get away with. I plan to vote with my feet and leave Rogers completely. I’ve hear that TekSavvy is great. Nothing but rave reviews. [ link ]

    As for my cable. Its going bye-bye too and I’ll get a good old fashioned antenna or perhaps a free-to-air receiver.

  21. What I would like to know is how on earth do they determine that 1GB = 2$. A 50 pack of DVD+R’s these days can cost less than 15$ which per GB would equate to 0.075$ or less than a Penny per GB, Its as if Bell and Rogers wants us to use the Sneakernet instead

  22. Ironically
    Comcast (not sure if they’re in Canada too) just announced that they are no longer controlling the traffic with their internet. I wonder if they’re planning something along Simpatico/Rogers new way of doing things.

  23. No Forward Thinking ISPs
    .I think it is time the ISPs realize their equipment is garbage and they upgrade their services out of their pockets because they are the ones who chose their method of delivery. If they cannot deliver, they should not be doing business!

  24. At the top end of Rogers price list is 18Mbps capped at 95GB.

    By my math, it would take a mere 12 hours at that rate to hit the cap!

    Rogers prices, rates and caps are completely out of line with prices, rates and caps in the rest of the civilized world.

  25. Anyone know if 3WEB is also going to cap
    3WEB is cheaper than both Rogers and BELL
    But, I don’t know if they are also following in Rogers’ and Bells’ footsteps as to cap download to 60GB.

    Does anyone know?

    Their site is [ link ]

    It’s currently advertising unlimited download. I’m wondering if that will change in the future and does this company offer greater transparency than Rogers?

    I’m currently a Rogers user and am tempted to switch over to 3WEB before the bandwidth cap comes into play during June.



  26. Bye Bye Rogers
    Ahh rogers, you have finally stepped over that line and today I have canceled your high speed cable internet. Rogers has always been expensive, but the service speeds have been good. The throttling was easy to get around with using their VOIP port (1720 I believe) and encryption. Now with the caps and throttling I canceled my internet and have gone with Teksavvy. They have a 200Gb limit, and though are facing problems with Bell wholesale throttling, I don\’t care. My money is not mostly going towards these greedy bastards.

    Our three year contract with has come to and end. The Unlimited package we had is now replaced with a 5GB monthly limit, with $20 per 10GB overage. While the service and download rates are ok, this limit means I can use the offered capacity for a grand total of 15 hours per month.

    I cannot image how 5 gigs is going to work; 3 computers, 3 teenagers; 1 online business.

    Xplorenet is the only other option for us in the rural area. Not sure if they have limits or not.

  28. Damn Rogers to hell
    I got the same letter many of have… can you believe Rogers? they first sold me on unlimited usage, then they go and change the contract… what the hell? I sure wish I could do something just as evil to them..
    In fact I might just go blow up some of their work trucks for this bull crap… you can imagine my rage against these pieces of scum.

    At least Rogers is too stupid to know their giving me cable for me, along with my internet. or they’d push me over the hill

  29. 60 gig
    Well, I guess this means I have a quota to meet every month. With the help of Rogers’s “manage my account” program, I can make sure I hit at least 55 gig of downloads every month. I need to buy more dvds

  30. The Email Notifications…
    The email notifications aren’t email notifications.

    They’re intercepted HTTP requests that get redirected to a rogers server. This raises a HUGE privacy concern with what they’re redirecting to where and what they’re doing.

    There’s a bit more detail and screen caps, here: [ link ]

  31. Canada, Technologically Impaired by Mono
    Time and time again I am sick and tired of seeing examples of Canadian monopolies within the telecommunications industry hindering the development of this sector within this country.

    From the lack of an iPhone, the slowness of adopting digital music and movie download stores, to bandwidth trafficking, and now capped “unlimited” internet usage plans, I ask where are our consumer groups? Where are they and why are they not protecting the rights of consumers?

    We are eons if not light years behind our European, Asian and American counterparts. How can we even compete in the global market place when we are reluctant to adopt forward thinking business practices?

  32. Where to send complaint?
    Josh is right. Where we should send our complaint? Aren’t we supposed to have consumer group which would try to fight for our rights? Could someone post here if they hear about any kind of joined effort to send official complaint to Rogers? I want to call their customer service, but you all know how it will end up, there is no solution there… Or we should try through our MPs to get some kind of political plan? Although I believe they will dance as Ted Rogers is playing, they will not listen to us, small group of “computer geeks”, as they may see us…

  33. Robb Topolski says:

    Unlimited dialup is 17+ GB/mo.
    I just ran the numbers. Provided I did not make a mistake, then “unlimited” 56 kb dialup (which is 53000 bps, I think, due to copper limits), comes out to over 17 GB a month.

    So the best we can do by switching to broadband is to double that?


    Robb Topolski

  34. Alternatives
    What are the alternatives? Teksavvy, what other ones?

  35. They have to implement these kinds of changes now before companies like Apple and Microsoft start pushing their DLC ie. HD movies and such.
    Imagine how much money you could make from people ordering a 40Gig movie at itunes ,xbox live or PSN in the coming years .. 2 movies and you get an extra $25 in your pocket for free 😉

  36. tony dan says:

    rogers and bell = MONOPOLY PRICING

    lets face it

    canadians are getting robbed

    in the USA it is true unlimited bandwidth

  37. Bandwidth Cap
    This is really infuriating me as a rogers user. I’m hoping 3 web offers better plans for internet usage and if so I’m going to switch. Once rogers starts charging people for real a storm is going to be brewing.

    I’ve pretty much had to SLASH my online commerce sinec thi has happened. No more buying games off of Steam, music off of Itunes etc etc etc. Absolutely terrible. This is going to kill the digital future and internet company’s are going to suffer because of it.

    IMO google, skype etc need to step up and throw a bigger spotlight on what rogers and telus is doing with these stupid bandwidth caps. skype is hardly working for me as well.

    What’s the latest news on this anyone know? Also what can we do about it?

  38. Cancellation Fee
    A cancellation fee for cable and internet has charged to me. Is it legal.

  39. Teksavvy
    I had enough. I hit my 60gig limit last night and then I called Rogers. After explaining that I work as a Network Admin and everything else and that the cap was BS the best they could do was give me a $15 credit to my account for this month. They can just BYTE ME! I called Teksavvy today after reading the comments here and they have better prices and the customer service was great. I am getting hooked up by Monday and then I am calling Rogers to tell those money hungry fat cats what they can do with their money grabbing crappy internet service.

    After this I am switching my Cell Phone service to another company as well because they over charge for that too. As far as TV goes, well I am going to have to research that some more. Rogers has cornered the market too much and don’t give a crap about the working people on budgets. WE NEED REGULATIONS!!

    Everyone should switch to Teksavvy for Internet. I am in Ottawa, Ontario in the west end in case any of you are wondering if the service is there.

  40. The Ultimate Alternative
    The government MUST step in and must enforce regulations and transparency for these communication services which we are becoming heavily dependent on (just like the phone and radio). Until then heres a solution:

    Someone should form an organization and get some rich guys involved and start a new physical network starting in a major city and expand from there. The initial investment would be quite large but once running, have it work as a nonprofit organization such that any revenue goes back into price cuts or expanding/upgrading the network and NOT to a bunch of greedy shareholders. The ideology of this setup would be for the people, not profit or business. It could be applied to almost any business but in particular the wireless networks which are worse than the internet.. 15c/160 character SMS? thats 15c/160charaters which is over $1million/GB (YES! you read that right: $0.15/160bytes * 1024^3) thats absolutely absurd data rates.

    And btw xplorenet is worse than all the others. They may have “unlimited” but their overpriced advertised speeds are only burst speeds and the speed quickly degrades. They also, unlike Bell, implement some sort of horrible throttling techniques which renders your connection basically useless when trying to do any P2P.

  41. Lets all abuse wireless 🙂

  42. More of the same
    I have been a Rogers customer since it was Rogers the Wave, this is it I can’t take it anymore. I stuck with them when it was Rogers @ Home and that sucked. I am a big Apple fan and seeing this type of billing by Rogers so they can charge me for movies even if I don’t use there horrible PPV service drives me nuts. I will be switching my internet somehow. I am going to drop my 3 cell phones. I will also be getting rid of my cable TV if I can.