What makes a good company? There are many measures, but I’ve always considered flexibility, a connection to what customers want and an internal flow between departments to be good hallmarks. That’s why I’ve repeatedly taken some of Canada’s telecom companies to task for being the opposite of that.
Almost a year ago, I wrote about how Bell Canada was being foolish for raising its internet prices at the height of the usage-based billing fracas. It was exceptionally poor timing, given that the company was being raked over the coals in the media while many Canadians were discovering small, alternative internet providers for the first time. It was evidence the company’s bean counters were out of touch with its public relations department, or simply that one group didn’t care about what the other had to say.
Lo and behold, nine months later Bell’s chief rival Rogers is doing the same thing. The country’s biggest cable provider recently sent out notices to customers telling them their internet bills will be going up $2 as of March 1 (some other services will also see price hikes). Compared to Bell, Rogers’ aplomb is considerably worse for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Bell has announced it is cutting out throttling – or the slowing down of certain internet applications such as file sharing – on both its retail and wholesale operations. Rogers, meanwhile, ranks as the world’s worst throttler. Compounding the problem is that just the other day, the CRTC found the company’s throttling to be a violation of net neutrality rules. The regulator could file an order with the courts to reimburse affected customers, according to Open Media.
Last but not least, some of those ISPs that leaped into public consciousness through the whole UBB saga have unveiled new plans based on the regulator’s capacity-based billing scheme that are considerably better than what incumbents such as Rogers are offering.
Put it all together and it adds up to a lot of ammunition for any Rogers customer who keeps track of the quality and price of their internet service. A price increase now, in the face of all those detracting elements, shows that either the company doesn’t care about what its customers want or that its internal departments are not working in alignment.
Either way, those aren’t the hallmarks of a company that is well-oiled, efficient and consumer-friendly. They are, however, representative of a company that needs to fund its recent large purchase of sports teams in Toronto.