Archive for Rogers

Rogers Communications Intends To Buy Shaw Communications For $26 Billion….. This Cannot Be Good For Canadians

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 15, 2021 by itnerd

The news dropped this morning that Rogers Communications has signed a deal to purchase Shaw Communications in a transaction that’s valued at $26 billion.

This transaction will create Canada’s most robust wholly-owned national network, and as a result of the combined teams and enhanced capacity, will generate more choice and competition for businesses, as well as realizing the full benefits of next generation networks for Canadians and Canada’s productivity. Once the transaction is complete, the companies plan to invest $2.5 billion in 5G networks across Western Canada, which is expected to create up to 3,000 net new jobs.

It also will likely remove Shaw Communications and Shaw owned Freedom Mobile from the telco landscape in Canada. So that cannot be good for Canadians. But Rogers did say this:

The combined company is committed to continue offering affordable wireless plans, with no overage fees, that meet the budgets and needs of Canadians. As part of this commitment, Rogers will not increase wireless prices for Freedom Mobile customers for at least three years following the close of the transaction

That may be cold comfort for Freedom Mobile customers who hear this news. You can fully expect this deal to get a lot of scrutiny given the fact that it will result in less choice in the telco landscape. Which by extension is not good for Canadians. And you can also expect that other telcos, AKA Bell might have something to say about this. But if this deal goes through, it would make Rogers top of the food chain in the Canadian telco space.

BREAKING: Cogeco Internet Is Down For The Second Time This Week…. And Apparently So Is Rogers And Bell

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on January 8, 2021 by itnerd

I am hearing and seeing reports of Cogeco Internet being down for the second time this week across Ontario. Cogeco itself admits this:

The thing is that they are not alone. Rogers and Bell are having outages as well. At least according to users:

The difference is that I cannot find any evidence of Rogers admitting this. Though there is a lot of people on Twitter who have Rogers or Bell saying that they are down. For myself personally, I am online and I have no issues at the moment. Thus this requires some further investigation to find out what is actually happening.

Updates to come.

UPDATE: Apparently this is a DNS issue again. That means the fix that I suggested in this story about Cogeco’s outage from earlier this week should work. If you try it and it works, please let me know in the comments. I also still am hearing sporadic reports of Rogers and Bell having outages continue. But I can’t find definitive proof of that.

UPDATE #2: The latest Cogeco outage appears to be resolved as per this:

And it looks like Rogers and Bell might have had issues as well. But not widespread ones based on looking at Twitter.

Rogers Ignite No Longer Uses Flash…. With Days To Spare

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 22, 2020 by itnerd

Much earlier this year, as in the second of January, I highlighted the fact that Rogers was still using Flash in its Ignite TV web product. I found this to be weird as Flash was due to die in 2020 due to the fact that Flash was a security risk of epic proportions. Well, it’s taken most of the year, but this thread on DSL Reports indicates that Flash is finally dead when it comes to Ignite TV web. Though I will note that Rogers kind of cut it close as every major browser was going to kill Flash by the end of the year. But at least they, or rather Comcast as that’s who really makes the Rogers Ignite product got it done.

For the record, Flash was replaced with HTML5 which means that the Ignite TV product is now compliant with common web standards and should work with any browser. That is a good thing.

UPDATE: The Rogers Community Forum also has a confirmation. But it is interesting that Rogers themselves hasn’t said anything about this as you would think they would want to say something and put a positive spin on this. That I think says something.

Rogers Is Upgrading Their Internet Service… Here’s What I Think They Are Doing

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 21, 2020 by itnerd

I was tipped off to by a reader of this blog to the fact that Rogers is apparently doing upgrades to the Internet service. And some of these upgrades might have hit the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke where I live. That intrigued me so I decided to investigate this.

First, I had a look at the Rogers Community Forums and came across multiple posts titled “Network OS Update” followed by a City or a neighborhood as well as a date. I didn’t see Etobicoke listed, but each post said this:

Hi Community, 

We’re always making enhancements to our network to make sure you get the best online experiences. To keep you in the loop on what’s happening in your neighbourhood, we’ll share OS update timelines on when updates are happening as they become available here.

We value your feedback and invite you to share your experience with us as we make updates in your respective areas. We’ll use this feedback to make sure you’re getting the most out of your services and that we’re able to help you resolve any concerns as quickly as possible.

It is important to note that not every OS update is designed to resolve customer-facing issues or increase speeds, but more often to maintain and build upon our infrastructure. This thread and subsequent threads will work to consolidate any service improvements or concerns during the OS update process. We’re looking forward to working with you through this process as we continue to build upon our infrastructure in the future. 

It’s easy to participate! Here’s what we would need from you. To take part in this initiative, the following requirements must be met. 

  • A recorded ping test to google.com prior to the update
  • A recorded traceroute to google.com prior to the update
  • You do not currently have an open ticket with technical support for an ongoing service issue
  • You do not currently have a scheduled technician for a service issue
  • All testing must be done with a wired connection to your modem, with no 3rd party equipment connected.
     

*If you do not meet the above requirements, your post(s) may be merged to a more accurate thread.

What should I post in this thread? 

  • A screenshot of your Upstream and Downstream levels found on the status page when you log into your modem from the day of your final results. 
  • Your ping test result from before the update followed by a current ping test result from the command prompt to google.com 
  • 3 consecutive traceroute results from before the update followed by 3 consecutive traceroutes after the completion of the update from the command prompt to google.com. (Ideally around the same time, if possible). 

*Always remember when posting an image of network testing results to block out/remove your personal IP address.

*Images will show in your post after they have been approved by our Moderator team. Don’t worry when they don’t show up right away.

This thread will be archived 7 days following the update of a given area.

Thank you for your continued feedback and support.

Well, that’s mildly interesting. Rogers is saying that they’re making enhancements. But they won’t say what the enhancements are. But despite that, they appear to want you to validate those enhancements. Whatever they are.

That’s a #fail.

If you want people to actually help you, being transparent about what you’re doing will make them more effective in terms of helping you. Just a thought.

In any case, I decided to then poke around my Rogers modem to see if they did anything interesting to it. At first, I couldn’t log into it via 192.168.100.1 as I have it set up in bridge mode. The usual reason in terms of why I cannot log into my Rogers modem is that Rogers pushed a firmware upgrade to it, which requires a reboot for me to get back into it. So I rebooted the modem and sure enough I could log in. This is what I saw:

The software version was 7.1.1.32. The last time that I had logged into my modem was a long time ago, and the firmware at the time was 2.0.10.36T6Which meant that Rogers in fact did push out a new firmware to my modem. Something that they haven’t done in a very long time. At least I thought that they hadn’t. But these notes from Rogers suggests that I haven’t been paying attention:

There’s a bunch of improvements for WiFi and a few other things. But really nothing that affected me. Still, I decided to poke around some more. That’s when I hit pay dirt:

I now have 8 upstream channels. But only four are in use. Channels 5 to 8 were never present previously. If I had to guess, Rogers is currently enabling DOCSIS 3.1 on the upstream part of customers Internet connections. You might recall that they did this a few years ago on the downstream part of customers Internet connections. Then they ran into issues doing the rollout, before getting things back on the rails. But any news as to doing the same thing to the upstream channel has been silent. But clearly that has changed.

So what would having DOCSIS 3.1 on the upstream channel give you? Well, the specification in theory give us 10 Gbit/s downstream and 1 Gbit/s upstream. It also gives you lower latency which is great for game players and Zoom users. Thus I suspect that Rogers is going to either jack up the upstream speeds, or they are going to jack up speeds on both upstream and downstream channels. And I think that pressure from Bell is driving this move as Bell has the absolutely superior offering in terms of their gigabit service, as well as 1.5 gigabit offering which Rogers doesn’t even offer because they can’t currently offer something with that speed level.

So it will be interesting to see what Rogers does with this upgrade. And more importantly, if their pricing is about to go up to pay for that upgrade.

Watch this space for updates.

Rogers Announces A Move To A “100% Canadian-based Customer Service Team”

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 30, 2020 by itnerd

This is one of these press releases that make you say “hmmmmm”. Specifically this press release from Canadian telco Rogers which announces the following:

Rogers Communications today announced that all of its customer service team members across all brands are now based in Canada. This follows the company’s announcement earlier this month that it is hiring for 350 jobs at its new customer solutions centre in Kelowna, B.C.

This month, Rogers Communications completed the transition of 150 remaining customer service positions to Canada, with new jobs created with partners across Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. With its entire 7,000 strong customer service team now based in Canada, this milestone ensures that every phone call or online chat with Rogers, FIDO or chatr is answered by a customer solution specialist on Canadian soil.

Now I get why companies outsource their customer service to places like India, Egypt and the Philippines to name a few popular outsourcing destinations. But when things become, “sub-optimal” in the eyes of the customer, which is another way of saying that the customer experience isn’t that great, there’s often a rush to bring things back in house. That’s kind of how I read this section of this press release:

“We are a proud Canadian company and pride ourselves in quality contact centre jobs in the communities where we live and work,” said Eric Agius, Chief Customer Officer, Rogers Communications. “When our customers choose to call us for help with more complex issues, they’ll be served by our Canadian-based team members who are truly experts in our products and services – and as members of their communities, they can relate to the needs of our customers.”

I guess that their customers who were looking for help weren’t getting people who were experts in Rogers products and services, nor could they relate to the Rogers customers because they were not members of their communities. That supports my theory that things were “sub-optimal” with whomever Rogers was outsourcing to.

This is apparently part of a multi-year plan to improve the customer experience. Something that Rogers CEO Joe Natale is known for. We’ll have to see if this move truly does improve the customer experience for Rogers customers.

Rogers Admits To Throttling Internet Users….. Could This Be The Start Of Mass Defections To Bell?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 15, 2020 by itnerd

A thread on DSLReports.com was brought to my attention this morning in regards to Rogers allegedly throttling the upstream connections of Internet users. The claimed smoking gun was in the form of a text chat that was captured by a DSLReports.com user by the name of “squads”:

Now, you can pretty much predict what happened next. Users were outraged. After all you can see from their perspective why they’d be a wee bit ticked off. If everyone is working from home, on VPN connections, doing Zoom calls and the like, upstream bandwidth usage will skyrocket. So if an ISP cuts their upstream bandwidth, users are going to be mad.

The thing is, another user on this thread who goes by the name of “DocDrew” correctly points out that Rogers has policies that allows them to do this. And effectively, you agree to that by signing up to their service. While this is 100% accurate, it hasn’t stopped ticked off Rogers customers from dialing up Bell to switch over to their Internet offering. The original poster of this DSLReports.com thread did. And I have to admit that since this pandemic has started, I have assisted a growing number of my corporate clients to switch from Rogers to Bell so that they can work more effectively from home. And their experience with Bell has been very positive thus far.

I think some of this goes back to my look at Bell’s rollout of the fibre to the home service and coming to the conclusion that Bell had Rogers in a position where Bell would become the dominant Internet provider in Canada. Now while that article was written in 2018, and Bell has tweaked it’s speeds slightly so that it is not symmetrical Internet access, Bell’s offerings are still substantially faster than anything Rogers offers at the moment. And via asking Bell Fibe customers who I have worked with and research in DSLReports.com and in other places, Bell appears to currently has no protocol to throttle customers in a similar way that Rogers does (though I am willing to bet that they could if they wanted to and just like Rogers they have wording in their various agreements that say so). That combined with their recent infrastructure investments makes Bell look like they are far ahead of the curve.

I will be interested to see what Rogers Q2 numbers look like. To be specific, I want to see if Rogers is bleeding Internet customers. I would also like to see if Bell when they put out their Q2 numbers are on the receiving end of those customers. The reason being that it will confirm or deny if my anecdotal observations are accurate or not. My thinking is that this could be the start of mass defections to Bell. But hard numbers would confirm or deny this.

Rogers Announces 5G Support For The Samsung S20 Lineup Which Ships Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 6, 2020 by itnerd

Today is the day that you can get your hands on the new and uber expensive Samsung S20 lineup. And Rogers is out with a press release saying that you can do 5G on that phone today…. But as always, the devil is in the detail. So let’s look at that detail.

According to their press release, you can get 5G in downtown Vancouver, downtown Toronto, downtown Ottawa and Montreal today. Meaning if you live in the burbs or beyond the downtown core of those cities, or you live anywhere other than those cities, you’re still using 4G LTE. Having said that there are 20 more markets where 5G will make an appearance this year. And they will be using 2.5 GHz spectrum in downtown Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Future plans include using 600 MHz 5G spectrum, which is best suited to carry wireless data across long distances and through dense urban buildings. As well as 3.5 GHz spectrum and dynamic spectrum sharing, which will allow 4G spectrum to be used for 5G.

Now all of that is nice and all, but here’s the bottom line. Very few people will actually be running 5G on the S20 today in Canada. Instead, they’ll be running 4G LTE because they are outside of a 5G coverage area. Now Rogers would argue that at least they have 5G access ahead of the other guys. Namely Bell and Telus. But I think it would mean something if 5G coverage was somewhat broader. As in 5G was available in the entire city of Toronto for example. Which was the case when I tested Rogers LTE rollout many years ago. But it’s not. Thus I will simply say that I will give Rogers kudos for getting out there ahead of the other two members of the “big three”, but perhaps they should have had broader 5G coverage so that more people could experience 5G and as a result drive people to get their S20’s from Rogers as opposed to the other guys? Just a thought.

It’s 2020 And Adobe Flash Is About To Die…. So Why Does Rogers Ignite TV Still Support Flash?

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 2, 2020 by itnerd

Adobe Flash is horrifically insecure, so much so that Adobe is killing Flash this year as they can’t seem to fix the security issues that Flash has. That begs this question. Why is it that Rogers Ignite TV still supports Adobe Flash? Don’t believe me?  Check the screen shot below which came from this page on the Rogers website:

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While I will concede that this page was last updated in August of 2019, it doesn’t even remotely make sense why Rogers Ignite TV still supports a plug in that quite literally nobody on the planet should be running because it is not only insecure, but nobody has any practical need for it as most online properties have transitioned away from Adobe Flash ages ago. Example, Google Chrome which has a sandboxed version of Flash which makes it marginally safer to use as it is off by default and (hopefully) doesn’t have access to your PC or Mac as whole has been prompting for a while now that its support for Flash will die in 2020. Why does that matter? Because without a browser that has a copy of the Flash plug-in installed, Ignite TV’s watch anywhere functionality won’t work.

Since I cannot be the only one that thought this, I trolled Twitter to find out if this question has been asked of Rogers, this is the best that I could come up with:

You’ll note that the Rogers Helps Twitter account completely dodged the question about not using Flash in the first place as Ignite TV is a very new service. Though I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that Rogers Ignite was bought from Comcast and Rogers took it from Comcast as is. But they do say that they will have “a new feature to replace Flash that will support Ignite TV in online browsers” and they will share more details soon. But here’s the problem that they face:

  • Microsoft says it plans to disable Flash by default in Edge and Internet Explorer in mid to late 2019, with a full removal from all supported versions of Windows by 2020.
  • Google will remove flash “toward the end of 2020”
  • Mozilla says Firefox users need to choose which websites are able to run Flash (or not run Flash). Only users running the ESR version of Firefox will be able to run Flash up until the end of 2020. Those uses are usually corporate users and not consumers users.
  • Apple is also supportive of the 2020 end of life for Flash, and Safari currently requires explicit approval on each website even when Mac users opt to install Flash.

And in the case of everything that I linked to above, all of the above has been floating around since at least the latter half of 2017. Which means that this is something that Rogers should have been planning for ages ago.

The fact is that Rogers doesn’t have a whole lot of time to introduce their “new feature to replace Flash that will support Ignite TV in online browsers”. Meaning that as browsers stop supporting Adobe Flash this year, angry Ignite TV users who watch TV in a browser using Flash may bombard Rogers with questions about what they will to to fix that situation when their browser of choice no longer works with Ignite TV. And when they find out that there was a significant lead time for Rogers to transition to something else, Rogers may find those customer’s patience with Rogers may be very, very thin. Thus this will be a story to watch in 2020 as Rogers will have to navigate this situation in a way that doesn’t cause this to become a train wreck next to a dumpster fire.

If they can.

Rogers Now Throttles “Unlimited” Plans To 512 Kbps To Match Telus And Bell

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 25, 2019 by itnerd

Rogers in the “unlimited” plan wars was the last of the “big three” telcos to not offer throttling at 512 Kbps. Instead, they were stuck at 256 Kbps. But that changed today. If you look at the Infinite microsite, you now see this text. I have highlighted the relevant portion in bold:

Rogers Infinite data plans include 10GB, 20GB or 50GB of data at max speed on the Rogers network, extended coverage areas within Canada, and Roam Like Home destinations (see rogers.com/roamlikehome). You will continue to have access to data services with no overage beyond the max speed allotment at a reduced speed of up to 512 kilobits per second (for both upload and download) until the end of your current billing cycle. Applications such as email, web browsing, apps, and audio/video streaming will continue to function at a reduced speed which will likely impact your experience. We will send you a text message notifying you when you have used 90% and 100% of the max speed allotment included in your plan with the option to purchase a Speed Pass to add more max speed data to your plan. In all cases, usage is subject to the Rogers Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy.

That’s an interesting change. The cynic in me says that it has to do with this Reddit thread that popped up earlier this week where posters were critical of Rogers. Thus my guess is the folks at 1 Mount Pleasant in Toronto got the message loud and clear and changed course.

 

There’s One Other Thing To Note From Rogers Announcement Today….

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 12, 2019 by itnerd

Earlier today, Rogers announced their Infinite wireless plans which have understandably gotten a lot of attention. But there was one other detail that might have flown under the radar. From their press release:

Later this summer, Rogers Infinite plans will also include new device financing options so customers can purchase any device they want at $0, any day of the year. Once their device is paid off, customers will only pay for their monthly service plan.

Why is this important? Well, the “big 3” telcos got caught charging what are known as device subsidies long after a phone that is purchased from a “big 3” telco for “$0” or for a low price is paid for. I wrote about this gouging phenomenon here and I am guessing that this is meant to make that public relations nightmare go away. I also think this further adds credence to the fact that they’re trying to get in front of what the New Democratic Party and the The Liberal party have signaled. Though I do have one question. Does this apply to people who are currently paying off a device subsidy? There were no details in the press release so we’ll have to see.

Expect this to also be copied by Bell and Telus shortly.