Moving from Rogers Internet to VMedia in Kitchener/Waterloo

This article describes why I decided to move off Rogers for the internet, what options are currently available in the local Kitchener/Waterloo area, and the details on how to switch from Rogers.

Rogers: Good and Bad

Rogers internet service is quite good from a functionality point of view. Their technical support is also acceptable, though sometimes you need to have more than one call to get an issue resolved.

The really annoying thing about Rogers is dealing with their upselling, cross-selling, bundling and pricing. If you threaten to leave them, they will lower the cost temporarily by revealing offers that they would never inform you about otherwise. Then the regular price goes up after a while.

So, I was on a quest for a more reasonably priced and better featured internet ...

One Month Notice Required

I had cancellation penalties with Rogers, $20 per service per month. So I had to wait until the time is over, and then one month before my Rogers contract was up, I called them, savouring the moment, and finally cancelled!

Make sure that you give them a 1 month notice if you do that.

Rogers Retention Attempts

Back in April, when I complained, Rogers put me on a bundle for cable TV and internet (Hybrid Fibre 60).

When I called to cancel, they offer the same Hybrid Fibre 60, which is "up to" 60Mbps download, 10Mbps upload, and 120GB allowance) for $61.4 (taxes included). This has a fairly low bandwidth cap, and I would be using much more every month, so this was not a viable option.

Why Cable Internet and Not DSL?

Going for DSL was not an option, since cable internet offers higher speeds, and it is what I have been using for over 10 years. DSL was out of the question.

Cable Internet Providers in the Region

The current providers of cable internet are all resellers for Rogers, using their same infrastructure. They are: Acanac, Start, Teksavvy, and VMedia.

Initially, I was planning to go with Start Communications (enable Javascript to enter your postal code in order to see the cable plans). I did recommend them to friends, based on feedback from other friends, as well as
price/features, and they are working fine there, with VoIP and all.

However, they have recently changed their plans, and in order to get 300 GB per month (above what I use with a safety margin), I have to go for a $65 plan. The plan just one notch down from it is reasonably priced ($45), but has a limit of 200 GB only. Not viable for me!

VMedia Cable Internet

So, I ended up with VMedia with their 30/5 unlimited cable plan for $50 a month (that is the month to month price, I thought I saw an option for $45 with an annual commitment when I signed up, but can't find that on the site anymore).

You sign up online, without talking to anyone on the phone. If you enter your Rogers cancellation date and reference number, you qualify for the transfer ($20 one time, instead of $65 for a regular install). No technician will visit. You connect the modem and that is it.

DOCSIS Modem, Rental vs. Ownership

I ordered the modem (Motorola DOCSIS 3.0 SB6141 $80 purchase and $15 shipping). Yes, it can be purchased cheaper elsewhere, but there is no need to upgrade the firmware or have other conflicts for saving $10 or $20. I'd rather have something that is guaranteed to work from them as long as it is a one time expense.

Upfront and Recurring Costs

So, total upfront costs: $20 (transfer)+ $80 (modem) + $15 (shipping) + tax.

Total monthly cost: $50 plus tax month to month, no contract.

How The Switching Happens

Once you sign up, you get an initial order confirmation email. Do not be surprised if you do not get any contact from them for 2 weeks or so afterwards. They are not ignoring you, so don't panic. They will email you with the tracking information for the modem that is being shipped to you. When you ask them something by email they respond in less than an hour.

My switch date was July 24th. It was sometime around 6:15 am on the 25th (following day) that the switch happened. Basically, if you see the internet stop working, then you connect the cable modem supplied by VMedia and reboot the router so it picks a new external IP address,
and that is it.

Speed Tests

As for speed, I used Ookla SpeedTest.net at different times of the days, and it is close to advertized (30 Mbps download, 5 Mbps upload):

To a Toronto Server (Teksavvy)
Date: 2014-07-25 12:40 PM EDT
Download: 29.11 Mb/s
Upload: 4.87 Mb/s
Ping: 18 ms
Server: Toronto, ON ~ 100 km

To a Kitchener Server (Netflash)
Date: 2014-07-25 1:03 PM EDT
Download: 28.25 Mb/s
Upload: 5.03 Mb/s
Ping: 30 ms
Server: Kitchener, ON

Anecdotal: Some site feel "snappier" (less delay between request and response). Also for VoIP, the one person we called says there is less delay than with Rogers. This may be due to the lack of the deep packet inspection that Rogers does.

But it is too early to say definitively.

Billing

As for billing it is prorated for the balance of the first month, then by credit card at the beginning of each month.

Do not forget to return Rogers' Cable Modem within 5 days, so that you do not get charged extra fees.

Things to Watch For

Out of curiousity, I ran whois on my new external IP address that VMedia assigned, and found out it is assigned to: CIK Telecom Inc. CIK stands for "Customer Is King" by the way.

Then, I ran across these complaints ... mainly from British Columbia, but some from Toronto and Mississauga: here and here.

The person answering the comments above, is "Jordan" with the title CEO. And in the whos database, a "Jordan Deng" is listed as the technical, organization and administrative contact.

Will be watching closely ...

What About Cable TV?

What about Cable TV? Well, my solution was to get HD TV via antenna, with no monthly chargers at all.

Hope this helps a few people looking for options ...

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