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Rogers Abandoning Portable Internet Service: Internet Overcharging 3G in Rural Canada’s Future

Phillip Dampier December 14, 2011 Canada, Consumer News, Data Caps, Rogers, Rural Broadband, Wireless Broadband 33 Comments

Rogers Communications has mailed letters to rural Canadians announcing it will cease operation of its Portable Internet wireless broadband service effective March 1, 2012.

The service, which uses the Inukshuk Wireless network, delivers Internet access to over 150 communities across mostly rural-northern Canada, where DSL and cable broadband is simply unavailable.  Customers were paying $45 a month for up to 3Mbps service with a 30GB usage cap.

Rogers’ decision will now force most of those customers to use the company’s far more expensive 3G wireless network, which runs far slower and has substantially lower usage allowances.  How much more expensive?  Rogers’ 3G customers choosing the company’s 3G Flex data plan will pay between $94-104 a month (depending on speed), for a plan with a 15GB usage allowance.  Overlimit fees run $10/GB. Customers using 20GB on Rogers’ 3G Flex will pay the company $144-154 a month for slower service.

“The price disparity is absolutely enormous,” says Stop the Cap! reader Ted who uses Rogers Portable Internet service in Val Caron, Ont., located north of Sudbury.  “You might as well not bother using the Internet at all at these prices.”

Ted says Rogers Portable Internet was never a perfect solution, but it was priced similarly to what larger city residents pay for broadband.

“It’s not really WiMax, which came after Rogers introduced the service, and the speeds and ping times can be appalling if you don’t have good reception, but it was affordable,” Ted says.  “Using 3G service means even slower speeds and lower caps at double the price, which is typical for Rogers.”

Ted points out the 30GB one receives on the Portable Internet service for $45 would correspond to a bill for $25o on 3G — five times the price for worse service.

“I am talking to my wife about buying the Rocket Hub [Roger’s device for mobile broadband] so we have something, because Bell has told us not to expect DSL anytime soon,” Ted notes. “Rural Canada cannot catch a break.”

The other option rural Canadians have is satellite Internet access, but providers like Xplornet have faced withering criticism from customers for poor speeds, network speed throttling, and usage caps.

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Rogers_Chris
Guest

Hi, this is Chris at Rogers. I wanted to clear up a few misconceptions brought up in this post about our wireless internet offerings. Portable Internet has been a good solution for customers who have historically not had access to high speed connectivity. Now there are better solutions available. Rogers is committed to doing what’s best for customers and intends to offer the smoothest transition possible. We are offering our customers a replacement service – either a free Rocket Hub or Rogers Hi-Speed Internet where available. The cost of the replacement service will depend the plan the customer selects. The… Read more »

Alex Perrier
Guest
Alex Perrier

Chris, Here are my remarks regarding each and every “point” you made: —– i’ve tested the “Turbo Hub” plan in rural regions, using the Bell/Telus network. i’ve obtained speeds of up to 3.2 Mbit/s, despite them advertising up to 21.1 Mbit/s. The max i have ever obtained was 12 Mbit/s, in an urban mall. When i am home, speeds are no faster than 4 Mbit/s. Based on Stop The Cap!’s feedback, Inukshuk has a more reliable network than Rogers 3G/3G+/”4G”. So theoretical maximum speeds don’t mean a thing. Free hardware obviously requires a fixed term contract, which can be annoying… Read more »

DAVE
Guest
DAVE

WOW THIS IS HIGHWAY ROBBERY.

NO WONDER WHY THEY CALL ROGERS “ROBERS”.

FIX YOUR GOUGING FEES ROGERS. YOU MAKE EVERYONE EMBARRASSED OF BEING CANADIAN.

I SUGGEST ANYONE THAT WAS SCREWED OVER BY ROGERS’ DECISION TO DISCONTINUE AFFORDABLE INTERNET TO GO WITH ANOTHER COMPANY INSTEAD.

RIGHT NOW I’M PAYING $60 PER MONTH FOR 80GB AND FASTER SPEEDS THAN ROGERS. THEY INSTALLED THE RADIO DISH AND EVERYTHING FOR ME.

JUST GOOGLE: WIRELESS INTERNET

YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHOOSE ROGERS OR BELL. THEY HAVE POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE, STEAL YOUR MONEY, AND DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU AS A CUSTOMER.

Alex Perrier
Guest
Alex Perrier

EASY ON THE CAPS MAN!

Just teasing you a bit. 🙂 Anyway, i’m planning to leave Bell soon. They failed to honour the free PVR rent-to-own for three years, despite me wasting a lot of my time and calling them a lot. Enough with constantly giving them chances and them taking advantage of customers. Time for me to support an independent ISP!

Jon
Guest
Jon

“Now there are better solutions available.”

Better? How? Slightly faster and much, much more expensive?

Paul
Guest
Paul

My father has relied on Rogers Portable Internet Service which has been very reliable and a perfect solution for him for many years. He paid over $500 to buy and install the exterior Motorola modem on a tower. He enjoys a 80-100% signal strength using the service in his rural location in Southern Ontario. I, his son, have a rocket stick as well as a Rogers cell phone, both of which drop service or reach no better than 2 bars when I visit, which means lucky to achieve 3Mbit/s on a good day, at much greater cost – and certainly… Read more »

Jon
Guest
Jon

Wow, this is sad. I’m sorry to hear that a major company is restricting your fathers’ access to affordable internet and stifling innovation in Canada. This is truly an evil tactic.

I’d love to publish an article with your story and create awareness. We get syndicated with over 40 news sites.

My email: jon [at] thoroldnews.ca

Raymond
Guest
Raymond

Rogers have made a bad decision. They obviously found it necessary to cancel the rural service so they could charge more. Further you don’t get any email addresses with this service to my knowledge, you have to have a gmail or yahoo or hot mail address. This service is very expensive and the signal less than satisfactory. I got my hub at Rogers store, set it up. The signal was on and off, so I went and got the additional antennae to no avail. The following day I packed up the equipment and took it all back. Bell is doing… Read more »

STEVE
Guest
STEVE

GUYS! THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES!

I’m in Niagara, and I found these guys:
http://www.lastmilenet.ca/pricing.html

They don’t have usage caps. And I bet they’re faster than over-subscribed Rogers.

If you don’t live in Niagara, just search Google for “Wireless Internet” in your city. You don’t have to put up with Bell/Rogers price gouging.

Mark
Guest
Mark

After receiving my notice of cancellation after being a happy customer with Rogers Portable internet for 7 years, I am left with a decision says Rogers customer service representative. It’s purely my decision – Migrate to the new plan and pay approximately 400% per month ( based on their estimates of my usage ) or cancel my service. How can any company expect their customer based to see an increase of 400%!!!!!!!!!! All I can say is – GOOD BYE ROGERS!!!! Others beware. No one needs to deal with corporations that treat their customers like this. Oh by the way,… Read more »

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

I have read all the comments and the comments strengthen my feelings on the abandonment of the Portable Internet as a profit for customers deal. I am a urban user and have been using portable internet for 6 years on and off. I just signed back up again because I am in a downtown office that rigorously refuses to allow us to use the work internet for anything but work. So I use my Portable Internet to listen to streaming music or listen to documentaries or just surf at lunch for a good buy. I pay for it, so I… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

@Rogers_Chris. The issue is not the up-front cost for the internet hub modem. I have done that and am pleased with the speed and connectivity. I am not happy, however, with the bill I receive at the end of the month. I am in a situation where I cannot obtain high-speed internet access any other way than by using a cell modem, ie. 3G internet hub. I believe, other users correct me if I am wrong, that Rogers offers the best cell data prices for internet usage out of the big 3 telecoms, but only by a very tiny margin.… Read more »

Lorna
Guest
Lorna

Hi There We also received our notice that service would be cancelled. We live near Lake Rosseau and have no DSL or cable service available. We have used this PIS for many years and it is the only solution available to us. We also have a Rocket Hub we use when we travel or go to another location. Here at home our Rocket Hub only receives one to one and half bars of service strength. Not a solution for us. We have spent hours on the phone with Rogers – going around in circles, and basically to get the service… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

@Lorna, I agree with your comments wholeheartedly. I think that areas where the big 3 don’t reach by fibre, DSL, or whatever, but have cell 3g available should be mandated to offer a realistic competitive plan with similar usage allowances that urban users are given. If my memory serves me correctly, when I signed up for Rocket hub usage, nearly two years ago, the 10gig limit for 60 dollars was in place, but anything over 10gigs was to be charged at 5 dollars a gig. Now the same plan being offered allows for the same 10gigs for 60 dollars but… Read more »

gary
Guest
gary

BLA BLA BLA bottom line is that all portable users are getting screwed over, what is the solution besides paying hundreds more for the same service, anyone know of other providers who can still compete with portable for rural customers??

blaine
Guest
blaine

Bell portable is available in some areas for 49.95/m I am in simcoe county and I will be moving to bell and saying bye to rogers very soon. The 22.95/m will not stream movies so go bigger if you can get the bell portable

Portable 3 Mbps

Surf at high speed while on the go.

Get online in 3 easy steps – no software to install
Experience speeds up to 53x faster than dial-up1.
Download, send and receive large files, stream videos, music and more – on the go.

Available in the following regions:
Simcoe County
South Glengarry
Laurentian Valley
Middlesex County
Bruce County
Dufferin County
Dawn-Euphemia Township

Gadjo
Guest
Gadjo

Canada is one of the worst place in the world for quality internet services, and it’s just getting worse. Any other company that offers Wimax? Is the technology dead as it is? Why change technology if one is less efficient and more costly than the previous? Why trying to turn home computers into cellphones/intelliphones (“moneyyyyy” says the devil). For me, it will be easy to just transfer to a DSL service. But I liked Wimax for its portability, and the fact that it was “real internet”, not the “phone” internet where you pay incredible fees for little usage. At this… Read more »

blaine
Guest
blaine

bell canada

Portable 3 Mbps

Surf at high speed while on the go.

Get online in 3 easy steps – no software to install
Experience speeds up to 53x faster than dial-up1.
Download, send and receive large files, stream videos, music and more – on the go.

Available in the following regions:
Simcoe County
South Glengarry
Laurentian Valley
Middlesex County
Bruce County
Dufferin County
Dawn-Euphemia Township

christian
Guest
christian

@Blaine, just chatted with a customer rep on the bell site, they said that the service was discontinued. I need to check in further by actually calling bell but it appears to me that they have just not taken it off the website yet.

blaine
Guest
blaine

I talked with bell and if you are in those area’s you can still get it, they are under contract with simcoe county (because they help pay for the towers) for the next 2 yrs. Not sure about other areas but that is what I was told so I am moving to bell canada

John Adams
Guest
John Adams

I agree with all of the comments except for the obvious BS from Rogers_Chris. It is amazing how big companies pretend it is for our benefit that they get to rake in huge profits. I wonder if Chris believes his own spiel. This is a huge rip off. I am planning on switching to Bell as well. The biggest problem is the big companies are all the same. You end up trying to figure out which gives the best poor service. At the moment it seems to be Bell for this service anyway.

Bob
Guest
Bob

I spoke to Bell today. Was told they no longer sell wireless service to my location (rural Caledon) and they offer NO alternative, not even dialup since the line quality is so poor and I am at the far end of the line from the Central Office. I also spoke to some nitwit at the CRTC who said they have nothing to do with internet service because “it’s not an essential service (like radio and TV ARE essential?) Rogers just says if I don’t like their offer with 2-year contract and/or the hub doesn’t live up to their claims within… Read more »

Lorna
Guest
Lorna

It just keeps getting more ridiculous. Now Rogers customer relations and support see my name in caller ID and just hang up.
Ok – I am totally on board for your suggestion of “class action”
Lorna

Mr lucky
Guest
Mr lucky

Well I got a shock today when I called Bell to see if I had DSL in my area yet with no again, but also got told to my surprise that my Bell Portable would be ending in March. I thought it was only for Rogers but Bell too is abandoning this service. Luckily for me my county is 1 of the 6 that paid to keep this service available to its customers and til 2015. I also found out today they cant measure your usage amount which I figured because I was positive I was using at least 60GB… Read more »

BT
Guest
BT

Rogers has a retention plan for users of their portable internet service which is a pretty good deal. Now they need to make this available to all of their current Rocket Hub customers. We switched to the Rocket Hub a year ago and as a result it is not available for us or apparently other current Rocket Hub users. PIS Migration Offer Ref: RETSRA057 Level 1 plan: $45/month 10GB Level 2 plan: $60/month 30GB Must sign up for the 2 year plan, free rocket hub. ($10/GB overage still applies with max $100 a month overage) You have reached our Online… Read more »

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Hey BT, Put a sock in it. Bottom line, your company is making more money and traded us loyal customers for cash. Your help is crap. Continue to “promote” your crap elsewhere. I am done with Rogers. No money from me. How is that helping your companies bottom line?

Deborah
Guest
Deborah

BT please note you are miss informed, I am in the same boat as everyone here and was told that also had a cap of $160 per month.
As of August this year the cap has been removed and now be charged full amount. Our average usage was around 90gb per month, August we used 86gb charged $560 for the Internet. Contacted CRTC they cannot do anything completely useless ministry.
Contacted my Caledon MPP waiting for a reply. Now considering legal action against Rogers.

Blaine
Guest
Blaine

Kevin I am now with Bell portable and Rogers has no money from me, Bell portable is going to last untill 2015 and then it to will be turned off but it is still better than Rogers. So BOTTOM LINE it is what it is and and money comes before loyal customers. I have freinds and family that went to the rocket hub for the portable and rogers sent them all a bill for 149.00 plus tax for the hub. Good plan they had to call and talk to rogers to get the bill changed nice way to be treated… Read more »

chris
Guest
chris

@BT I just quoted Rogers your reference code and plan , and they switched me to the plan with not issues. I did have to however sign up for two years again, at least i think. Anyways it was worth the call.

Thanks again.

Malle
Guest
Malle

To add further insult to injury, when I looked at my February Rogers bill I was charged for Portable Internet service until March 23, despite the fact that Rogers cancelled this service as of March 1. When I queried they said they billed one month ahead and therefore would credit my next account. Everyone should check their statements because do I trust Rogers to be honest…no. Also, since they were the ones who selected the date you would think they might have worked within their systems so customers are not overcharged. Oh wait, no, that would be a company that… Read more »

Blaine
Guest
Blaine

Bell works great and easy to setup

go blow rogers

Dave Smith
Guest
Dave Smith

Bell is worse than Rogers. Rogers caps you @ $120.
Your Bell bill can end up at $1400+

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