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Rogers Introduces ‘On Demand Online,’ But Effectively Rations Your Use With Usage Caps

Phillip Dampier November 24, 2009 Canada, Data Caps, Online Video, Rogers 4 Comments

rogersRogers Communications wants you to watch television on your broadband service, but not too much.  The Canadian cable company’s On Demand Online service was previewed Monday at a media event with plans for a public launch on November 30.

On Demand Online will showcase specific television shows as well as the entire lineup of certain channels.  The service has more than a dozen partner networks providing programming, among them TVOntario, Treehouse, Citytv, SuperChannel, and Sportsnet.

Premium programming will be available to Rogers subscribers who also receive those networks as part of their cable television package.  No cable TV package?  No access for you.  (Update: Rogers says it will offer the service to customers of any Rogers service.)  For now, company officials say the service will be available for no additional charge, but will be ad-supported.  Using On Demand Online will count against your usage cap/consumption billing allowance.  The service offers two speeds for viewing – a low resolution 480kbps feed and a higher resolution 1Mbps feed.  Rogers intends to increase the quality of the high resolution service to 2-2.5Mbps in the near future.

Rogers rations your online TV experience with usage allowances that make sure you don't spend too much time online watching shows you should be viewing on your Rogers cable TV service.

Rogers rations your online TV experience with usage allowances that make sure you don't spend too much time online watching shows you should be viewing on your Rogers cable TV service.

Rogers’ usage allowances, a part of their well-established Internet Overcharging scheme, will make it difficult for those already spending a lot of time online to enjoy the service.  Watching the current high speed, higher resolution feed could exceed 1GB of usage in just over two hours according to Digital Home.  That drops in half when Rogers upgrades the quality of the feed.

Customers who blow through their allowance face overlimit penalties and fees on their next bill.

Qualified subscribers will access the service through Rogers’ broadband web portal using established account names and passwords.  While the service will work “on-the-go,” Rogers says it will be keeping an eye out for password sharing and will also impose any viewing limitations required by content producers.  That could mean what is okay to watch in Ontario is not okay in Alberta, due to licensing issues.

Stop the Cap! reader Ibrahim in Toronto wonders how Rogers expects to get a lot of customers excited about a service that will help erode their monthly usage allowance.

“Isn’t is fascinating that Rogers wants to effectively charge you for every hour you watch online when you’ve already paid for the channel on your monthly cable bill?  What’s next, a meter on top of the television set demanding a quarter for every 15 minutes of viewing?” he asks.

Susan in North York wonders why she’ll have to pay for every ad.

“When I read about this service, I thought we were finally going to get something like Hulu here in Canada, but with usage-based billing, who is going to use up their allowance watching shows with ads all over them — ads I am now going to pay to watch,” she wonders.  “I guess it’s newsgroups for me — I can download my shows without ads and pay less.”

While the program content can be fast-forwarded or rewound, commercial advertisements on the service cannot be skipped or hurried through.  Initially, the service is expected to show just one ad per program, but Rogers intends to eventually run the same number of ads consumers would find if watching the program live on television.  With up to 12 minutes of advertising per hour, that also helps slowly eat away your monthly allowance.

What are the monthly usage allowances for Rogers Hi-Speed Internet service?

Ultra Lite – 2 GB
Lite – 25 GB
Express – 60 GB
Extreme  – 95 GB
Extreme Plus – 125 GB

Please note: The grandfathered Ultra Lite and Lite monthly usage allowance is 60 GB. Also, Rogers Portable Internet and dial-up services do not have usage allowances at this time.

Will I be charged if I go beyond my monthly usage allowance?

Yes. If you exceed your monthly usage allowance, you will be charged as follows:

Ultra Lite – $5.00/GB to a maximum of $25.00
Lite – $2.50/GB to a maximum of $25.00
Express – $2.00/GB to a maximum of $25.00
Extreme – $1.50/GB to a maximum of $25.00
Extreme Plus – $1.25/GB to a maximum of $25.00

Please note: the grandfathered Ultra Lite over-allowance fee is $5.00/GB with no maximum, and the grandfathered Lite over-allowance fee is $3.00/GB with no maximum.

Currently there are 4 comments on this Article:

  1. Uncle Ken says:

    If rogers could get $5 to $10 out of you for every movie trust me
    there would be no usage cap for you.

  2. jarret says:

    “Isn’t is fascinating that Rogers wants to effectively charge you for every hour you watch online when you’ve already paid for the channel on your monthly cable bill? What’s next, a meter on top of the television set demanding a quarter for every 15 minutes of viewing?” he asks.

    you are an IDIOT.

    did you not read the details of the service??? this is GREAT for a student who ONLY has a cell phone plan with Rogers and uses Wi-Fi or any other type of connection (Bell, Telus, Shaw etc) and watch tv for free. you do NOT have to be a Rogers Cable customer at all, you can do whatever you want even if you pay $15/month on a FIDO plan. Of course, Rogers will encourage the use of its own Cable network and also, Rogers provides the bandwidth if required to provide a great viewing experience vs. satellite or iptv for now so …. its a pretty good site nonetheless

    • I have corrected the story after learning only premium programming will be restricted to those who also subscribe to that particular network. It was initially unclear whether the basic cable programming would be restricted. The press accounts now seem to indicate it will not, except for location (no use in USA, or outside of licensed service area for particular programming content.)

      With usage caps, Rogers faces a lower risk of this service being over-utilized by broadband users, eroding their cable TV revenue as customers drop cable and just watch everything online. In the USA, the TV Everywhere project is supposed to be limited only to existing cable subscribers.

  3. Jayme says:

    Jarret
    I do think this service will appeal to a fair amount of people.It is aslo important to keep in mind you do not have to have rogers internet to access this service.

    Phillip
    My understanding the basic cable will be avaible toi any rogers customers.

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