Are you getting the Internet speed you pay for?

October 28 2011 by Ellen Roseman

I got lots of feedback to a recent column about Rogers not delivering the speeds that Internet customers were paying for.

This happens to some people when they upgrade to a more expensive service.

Congestion occurs if you have lots of heavy Internet users in your area or outdated equipment. Service providers use this as an excuse to get out of delivering the high speeds you expect.

But if the network isn’t adequate to handle the demand, that’s a concern for users. The problem has been around for a long time, judging by this CBC Marketplace report, but it’s no better four years later.

There’s also the issue of throttling and “traffic shaping,” which should be carried out according to the rules. The Canadian Gamers Organization just learned that its complaint about Rogers unduly restricting access to online services will go to the CRTC’s enforcement division for further action. (See Open Media’s report.)

David T. lives in Waterloo, Ont. He feels trapped dealing with Rogers Internet because there’s no real competition. Bell offers slower DSL service, so there’s not much room for poor network management.

He contacted his local TV stations about the slow speeds, but found they had no interest in covering the story. Then, he realized they’re owned by Rogers and Bell.

It’s newsworthy, in his view, because many people in the Kitchener-Waterloo area are posting comments at Rogers’ own website and at DSL Reports.

Here’s what he said in a series of emails:

I thought if I could get local media to report on this issue — Rogers Extreme Plus and Ultimate subscribers getting 1 Mbps after 5 pm, every night for two weeks — people might just fight for better service and more competition.

There’s no agency that deals with extremely slow speeds or failure to deliver speeds. I feel the media are my only option.

This is getting surreal. It’s like this big elephant in the room that Rogers oversells bandwidth in crowded areas and does nothing for months.

If people were getting 2 per cent of their electricity, gas or water at night, they would not be quiet about it.

Rogers is so horrible and time-wasting to deal with, most people just don’t bother.

I guess there is nothing a cable internet subscriber can do to get even 20 per cent of his or her advertised speed at night from Rogers. Hell, I’d take a reliable 10 per cent at this point.

People don’t seem to grasp that if you’re on an uncongested node, your service is great, but if you are on a congested node like mine where they oversold, you’re screwed.

It should be regulated, much like a bank that must have a set reserve amount for all its loans and leverages. Rogers should be required to upgrade, then go on an adding blitz.

I referred David T. to Rogers a few times. He finally says his Internet speed is back to normal. Here are some other complaints I’ve received below. Please chime in with your own experiences.

35 comments

  1. Andrew

    Oct 29 2011

    I live in Markham, Ont. I have been on Bell’s Fibe 12 (fiber to the neighbourhood box, DSL phone line to the home) for over 2 years now.

    All this time, I have always been able to get the promised 12 Mbps, day or night.

    About once every few weeks, the service is offline for a minute or two late at night for Bell to switch my IP.

    But other than that, there have been no disruptions at all. In other words, the phone company’s old-fashioned telephone line works for me.

  2. AH

    Oct 31 2011

    I can’t even begin to describe the numerous issues I’ve had with Rogers for cellular service and the internet.

    I recently cancelled my phone after 8 years and cancelled the internet after 6 because I’d had enough.

    We were on Express just over a year ago and would get maybe 1/10th of the DL speed promised. My fiance would also get booted constantly from his online Star Trek game, to where he couldn’t play at all – yet his coworkers using Bell could play just fine. Throttling is alive and well!

    After four support calls (during which I had one tech support tell me the speed is “up to” that amount and that Rogers considers half of that speed “acceptable”), I had one decent agent upgrade us for free to Extreme.

    We STILL don’t get the 20 MBps speed advertised for that level and my fiance’s game is STILL usually unplayable due to packet throttling.

    I cancelled the internet because Rogers tried to charge me a $50 fee for cancelling my voicemail package. (My actual phone contract was done; I’d upgraded my number of text messages one year in and apparently, Rogers considers THAT a contract extension on your package and feels entitled to money.)

    That said, we’re kind of screwed in our area, since Bell doesn’t offer their Fibe service here. We’re blatantly oversold at Main and Danforth, but Rogers doesn’t care that I constantly have to call in and reset my modem when their end glitches, or that I rarely get the speed promised. They’re getting their money, after all, and know they have us over the barrel.

    Sadly, my fiance’s probably going to take Rogers back under his name due to a lack of options here.

  3. Traciatim

    Oct 31 2011

    I’m using Bell Aliant’s Fiop 2.0 15/15 and regularly test my connection. It is very consistent in providing the full 15 Mbps in either direction on their internal test, and if the source is able to provide the bandwidth needed, I regularly have traffic moving externally at those rates.

    Other than some billing problems during the setup, the service has performed pretty much exactly as advertised. I was very surprised.

  4. Anil

    Oct 31 2011

    Ellen, you’re great for giving us all an oxygen tank in the sea of despair that is dealing with the Rogers and Bells of the world.

    Having been with Rogers for a number of years (with relatively few issues to be honest) in a suburban landscape, it was only natural for me to stay with them when I moved downtown. Boy, was I wrong.

    I live in Ottawa, and admittedly so, there are more people downtown (shocker, I know) but this shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise to anyone… should it?

    It seems as if Rogers is, in fact, caught off guard. The internet speeds, the lack of cellphone reception, the frequency with which our TV channels are muffled, all point to one conclusion: Rogers is not proactive, they only deal with an issue once it is in the news, blogs, forums, courts, and then on their president’s desk. Combined.

    When you pay for fast internet, you expect fast internet. Is that a concept that no longer exists?

    My roommate and I recently signed up for TV and internet. There has been no change in our meager broadband speeds, they remain at dial-up levels.

    Why is it, in an age where we can watch live, crystal clear pictures from halfway around the world, it takes 5 minutes to load a web page? Are we regressing?

    Rogers’ customer service often does not have the answers and instead gives excuses for the lack of quality service.

    Where does this leave the customer? In a heap of mess, with very little money, no less!

    Hopefully your writings can do something to help us folks struggling. And there are LOTS of us!

  5. David Waterloo

    Oct 31 2011

    Rogers Extreme Plus, North Waterloo, ON.

    From early September until 10/29/11, I had predictable, consistent download speeds of 1 mbps or down to 0.6, every night from approx. 5pm to 3am, every night.

    09/15/11 First reported issue.

    10/03/11 Ms. D. of Rogers Hi Speed CAT team admits it is a “known Rogers network area affecting you and others”.

    10/16/11 Elizabeth of Rogers Office of the President confirms, “the issue is a congested node, node is what they’ll work on. ETA is within a week” (first ETA, 1 month after first call).

    10/29/11 Speeds appear to be reasonably much closer to advertised.

    Hours on the phone proving my case again and again to all reps at all levels in several calls, all blaming my equipment.

    Rogers needs to monitor their network. They should be required to have enough bandwidth on hand in congested areas BEFORE they start adding more customers.

    Worst ISP, or customer service issue, I have ever had in North American, hands down.

  6. David Waterloo

    Nov 2 2011

    Speeds are down to 4 mbps, almost as they had been for 2 months, been slowing all night, steadily declining. Speeds, advertised or higher in the morning. Obviously still congestion.

    Recently spoke with Elizabeth, Rogers Office of President, who informed me officially it’s fixed. I requested a final follow up call, noting the severity and duration (2 months).

    She argued repeatedly it was fixed and that was unnecessary, placing me on hold for 5 minutes, all over one more follow up call.

    Very glad I fought for that call, now that my speeds are 10% and or less than advertised, yet again! It should not be this hard.

    Everyone, please check your speeds at http://www.speedtest.net, or even Rogers’ own buried speed tool. (Used to be much easier to find, but it’s on there.)

    If your speeds are unreasonably slow, be sure you keep an open service ticket on file with Rogers CAT department. Keep calling, keep reporting on here. We need to be treated fairly by Rogers at long last.

  7. Lior

    Nov 8 2011

    Both cable and DSL lines are oversubscribed, so it’s possible to suffer some performance loss during peak hours. But when you’re only getting 10% of the advertised speed, that’s definitely a red flag for the ISP.

    With Rogers, as users are connecting through a node in their area, it’s very well-known that Rogers are slow to address overloaded nodes. I have a friend who lives downtown who’s going through exactly the same thing. No matter how often you call to complain, they’re very slow to resolve these problems on their end.

    I remember back in the early 2000s when my Internet speeds with Rogers dropped from 10 mbits on Shaw (who, unlike Rogers who relied on @Home, ran their own network) to 256 kbits or less. Brutal!

    With Bell, I noticed that my line always stays very close to the advertised speed. I don’t know whether Bell’s technology is less prone to this than Rogers’ technology, but I never experienced congestion issues with Bell and I’ve been with them for 5 years now.

    Throttling and traffic shaping – now that’s a different matter altogether!

  8. David Waterloo

    Nov 10 2011

    I know with DSL your speeds are more affected by distance from your modem to the central office, not prone to the bottle necking that occurs when too many cable internet subscribers are added to a node. Not that DSL bandwidth can’t be over taxed by the ISP. Although DSL speeds are lower, I have found they were more consistent, when I had DSL.

    I still have occasional slow nights, better than it was for the 2 months of 1 mbps or less. Rogers did credit my money back, and will allow me to cancel my internet any time next year with out penalty. I encourage all to ask at least that of Rogers Office of the President. Would have much rather had reasonable speeds, reliable service, and paid the bill instead. All that took hours of calls, contacting Ms. Roseman, but I finally had had enough.

  9. Anthony Gagne

    Nov 11 2011

    I live in Ottawa (Gloucester) and have been experiencing about 4-5 Mbps download speed at night (usually after 5 PM).

    I called Rogers yesterday and they tried to convince me that the issue was with the modem. I explained that I can test the connection during the day and the speeds are 44 Mbps (and I only have a 32 MBps).

    I tried to escalate to the CAT team, but they refused, saying this was for repeat issues. I explained that this issue has been posted on numerous forums (such as DSLReports.com) but the rep dismissed those forum posts and asked that I disregard them.

    Not sure what else I can do!

  10. John Joe

    Nov 12 2011

    I used Shaw Nitro under their discount one year plan and received excellent service, with free Cable tossed in for 6 months.

    However, my needs are slightly better that what one gets from a laptop at a wireless coffee shop.

    I am off internet, but I can give hearsay advice on anyone who would try Teksavvy’s service. That company resells for Rogers and Shaw, which they refer to indirectly as the “carrier.” They are sales agents rather than co-suppliers, implying Principal leverage – if not exclusive propriety rights – over rates.

    There is a bizarre aspect of Teksavvy’s operation: their “techs” perform as information clerks for Rogers/Shaw, while they stress a consumer orientation. They use a US based internet forum to present themselves as technically capable to effect their Principal’s operations.

    Online “tech” service is somewhat whack-a-mole, given that the Principals have to serve their primary market, leaving the beggars with no Youtube or Netflix in the evening.

    Criticism of Teksavvy’s secondary market business model is suppressed as fast as it is posted on the forum. Only critical comment that can be refuted – often in specious ways – remains.

    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r26475710-Does-rogers-treat-their-own-customers-different-

    I mentioned coffee shops with their shared internet. Network centre may read 65MPS while loading is fairly slow.

    It is likely that secondary-market firms that sub for the big ISPs, throttle. There is proof that “packet” data is funneled through the system of the sales agent.

    It is likely that groups of consumers share bandwith, rendering speed-reads meaningless. If you are paying $2 per day for a service that often tosses in free Cablevision, don’t toss that in exchange for permanent hassles in the secondary-market.

    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/teksavvy

  11. David Waterloo

    Nov 14 2011

    Anthony, keep calling. No agency in Canada, nor Rogers itself, audits ISP’s to ensure they deliver any minimum speed. Not even 10 percent! The only way Rogers tracks congestion issues is by customer tickets.

    Diane in CAT department is familiar with this issue. So is Elizabeth Alvarado, and Mr. Strickland in Rogers office of the President. Ask for supervisors, if you still get the runaround, ask Ellen Roseman to have her contacts call you.

    It is high time this company treats ALL it’s customers fairly. If you aren’t getting any where near advertised speeds, and Rogers line tests say signal to your modem is OK, keep on service ticket open with Rogers High Speed CAT department. Do not let them stall you with multiple, useless tech visits. This NODE congestion is only going to get worse if we don’t stand up to this monopoly.

  12. David Waterloo

    Dec 28 2011

    Nice to read confirmation from what Tek Savvy reps have been saying on the phone. This is the result of no fair high speed competition in Southern Ontario.

    Tek Savvy has done everything in their power, but they are at the mercy of Rogers because they are a reseller, not real, independent competition.

    Tek Savvy cares about capacity, Rogers only cares about locking people into subscriptions, whether there is enough capacity in that subscriber’s area or not.

    For Rogers, money is all that matters.

  13. ellen andrulat

    Mar 13 2012

    Dear Ellen, I guess this is just another frustrating problem created by Direct Energy. I don’t trust them at all. Here is the latest. (I just read your article about the removal price hike.)

    I want to get rid of them and never deal with this company again. What I don’t understand: Since we live in this democracy and have consumer protection bureaus, how come these companies keep getting away with abusing the public?

    Here is my story. Direct Energy sent out flyers advertising furnace cleaning. I called and told them I only wanted one (I repeat, one cleaning) and did not wish to get on a contract.

    The lady assured me several times that only one cleaning would be done and nothing more would be charged to my account.

    Since I heard so many horror stories about Direct Energy, I was very emphatic about only wanting a cleaning without a contract. I was assured that nothing would come on a monthly basis.

    Guess what? My first bill arrived indicating that I was on contract. I coulldn’t believe it.

    I called and finally got a supervisor, who after much debate agreed to remove the contract and pay back my money.

    Well, they didn’t send me a cheque and subtracted the amount on a monthly basis from my hot water rental (which went up the next month).

    To this day, I don’t think I got the full amount back. The billing was so complicated that I let it go. I still don’t think they paid me fully.

    Now I want to get rid of their water tank and they said it would cost $75, plus other cost.

    A Home Depot rep told me to be careful, as he had a horrible situation. They charged him over and above what they should have. He was charged extra because his contract was not up. He didn’t even know he was on contract.

    Honestly, how are they still in business and not classified as a dishonest company?

  14. Gary

    Mar 24 2012

    Any idea what proof or evidence is needed to show that the speeds are not what was promised? One persons perception of slow may be different from anothers.

    I am collecting data from a speed test site:
    http://www.speedtest.net/
    latency, download speed and upload speed.
    If I cannot get Rogers attention by showing slow performance over a month period then perhaps small claims court might be next.
    Gary

  15. David Waterloo

    May 24 2012

    Speeds have been more or less better since my months long ordeal. However I believe I’m still suffering the ill effects of “traffic shaping”.

    I have a Magic Jack phone now and the 2nd fastest internet package Rogers offers, with good results from speedtest.net, I still suffer very poor call quality.

    It would make sense. Why pay Robbers $30 to $50 a month for limited minutes when you can get a VOIP phone for 30 bucks a year.

    I also have a new issue. For the past 6 months, I did not receive my new Rogers bills. Mr. Hines in the Office of the President blames Canada Post, even though I receive bill reprints and other notices from Rogers, as well as all my other mail.

    Mr. Hines says the printers say the bill is going out, so it must be Canada Post. He is asserting Canada Post, for some unknown reason, selectively decides not to deliver only my new Rogers bills.

    This company is a nightmare. I just want decent service at fair prices. Is that too much to ask?

  16. CMB

    Sep 30 2012

    Here is the CRTC’s response to the Gamer’s complaint http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com100/2012/r120628.htm.

    What a joke! Rogers provides terrible internet service and overcharges for cable. I am one of the customers who was stupid enough to sign a contract without knowing they could throttle the internet to make is virtually impossible to watch tv or play games on-line without constant interruptions.

    Depending on the time of day, even doing a basic search can be painfully slow. As you can see, the CRTC is certainly no help.

  17. sleb

    Feb 4 2013

    I was making the move to Rogers internet because with Bell Aliant, the max i get is 3.8mbps (no faster connection is available in my sector with Bell Aliant).

    Rogers is advertising a download speed of 30mbps and upload of 10mbps. I’d like to know if Rogers had stopped its Internet traffic management practices, which a CRTC letter said was supposef to be phased out by December 2012.

    I have gamers in my house (including myself), so I want to make sure I’m not making a mistake by going with Rogers.

    I just hope to get a faster connection. This is my main reason for changing my ISP. How low was the speed when the ITMP was on?

  18. Scott C

    Feb 4 2013

    I just upgraded from Rogers “Express” to “Extreme” due to an unknown increase in reported Gb/Month usage The amount listed doubled for no apparent reason, or change in usage habits.

    After upgrading to “Extreme” (To avoid massive monthly overages), my internet has now slowed down to unbelievably slow speeds.

    I am supposed to get up to 30 Mb/sec Download.

    Currently am getting about 0.5 to 2 Mb/sec Download.

    RIDICULOUSLY SLOW.

    ……*sigh* Rogers Service at it’s best.

  19. David Waterloo

    Mar 9 2013

    I have had speed issues off and on with Rogers for 5 years now in North Waterloo. I have posted here before.

    I have Rogers Extreme Plus. Every issue I ever have had has been the result of Rogers poor management of their Network and NODES.

    EVERY time Rogers has blamed me, every time the issue has been on the Rogers side. Worst of which was .6 mbps DL speed all waking hours of the day for over 2 months.

    Rogers, after 6 weeks of calls and blaming my equipment, admitted it was NODE congestion. They had added too many subscribers without doing necessary upgrades first.

    Then they blamed their customers, dragged their feet and must have wasted thousands, paying to send service tech after service tech out, rather than deal with the problem in a hands on, integrated way.

    Keep calling, you may have to talk to 6 bad representatives, but eventually you might get someone good.

  20. Jan King

    Apr 19 2013

    Bell is slowing my internet every evening from 5Mbps in the morning to 1Mbps in the evening.

    Phone lines have been checked, modem replaced. This is all just the big monopoly Bell messing with their customer.

    It’s easy to make a complaint with the CRTC online if you have the same problem. I am hoping the complaints will make Bell fix things.

  21. PCJ

    May 23 2013

    Completely frustrated with Rogers!! I have been calling on and off for the exact same issue with my internet service…slow speeds!!

    I have repeatedly called complaining about this and no one seems to care, but instead they just justify it!!

    I have even upgraded my service package to the Extreme Plus, but am getting download speeds of anywhere between 7 and 14 when I should be able to get up to 45!!

    Of course, this is how they get around it by using the words …UP TO!! Of course, they don’t bother ever being honest and stating an average download speed that you shouldn’t really ever go below with each given package.

    NO, that would mean they would have to actually provide that level of service then…heaven forbid!!

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