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More bandwidth for Netflix customers

Given Rogers reputation as the fastest internet in Canada, some customers will be surprised by today’s Netflix report in which Rogers didn’t do as well.

What gives?

Netflix’s test was done just before we virtually doubled Netflix capacity and we’ll continue to add more capacity as it’s needed. These results only apply to customers’ specific Netflix connection and not overall internet speeds.

Independent third party testing continues to show that Rogers offers top internet speeds.

PCMag.com recognized Rogers as the fastest overall in its Canada’s fastest Internet Service Provider review. The Ookla Net Index shows that Rogers is fastest. YouTube has ranked Rogers as a top-quality network for HD videos. And Sam Knows, an independent leader in internet testing, found that Rogers customers get faster speeds than advertised even when the network is at its busiest.

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Rogers new 700MHz spectrum will bring more NHL action to customers

Canadians’ use of wireless data is exploding. A recent study by Ooyala found that the amount of video watched on smartphones and tablets has grown by more than 700 per cent since 2011.

We know that more and more sports fans are catching the latest game or highlights from the day’s action on their smartphones or tablets. During the recent Olympic games we saw a 50 per cent spike in wireless traffic during the men’s hockey final as customers tuned in to catch the action. Our own research shows that more than half of all consumers expect to have their entire TV experience replicated on a smartphone in the next five years.

That’s why we went into the 700 MHz auction with a clear plan to win the best spectrum for our customers. We know you want the ultimate video experience and the spectrum we won will be a big part of how we bring the NHL to you.

Over the coming months we’ll announce more about our plans to bring you more NHL action than ever before!

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Rogers helps residents affected by ice storm

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Update, Dec. 30, 2013: 4:40 p.m:  As power has been restored to homes, most services have returned to normal. We sincerely apologize to the small number of customers that remain without service and have assigned extra crews to repair cable lines that have been damaged by the storm,  as quickly as possible. 

If you continue to experience service disruptions call our customer support line at 1-888-ROGERS-1 and speak to one of our technical support agents. We will assign a technician to your home as soon as one is available to identify the problem and work to restore your service.  We thank our customers for their patience and are working hard to get services back up as soon as possible.

Update, December 27, 2013 – 3:15 p.m. Please note this blog post has been updated with information for people with downed lines. Please see dated update below.

Update, December 24, 2013 – 3:33pm: Please note this blog post has been updated, see text in italics for new information.

With hundreds of thousands of people still without power, Rogers is taking steps to help residents deal with the aftermath of the weekend’s ice storm.

Working with the Red Cross, Rogers will help pay for the shelters being run across the province and will provide hygiene kits for those who need them. We are also opening up retail stores to help friends and family stay connected. Residents can drop by one of 89 open retail locations and access the store WiFi network, charge their device and use courtesy phones and laptops to keep in touch with loved ones. We’re also providing loaner phones to some local shelters.

Ontario has experienced extreme weather conditions that have left many homes and businesses without power. As power is progressively restored to homes, most services will return to normal.  In some cases, landline services may not immediately resume, as power for network equipment may come from another area where power has not yet been restored or where cable lines may have been damaged. Power generators are being moved from site to site to maintain and restore service where possible.

Maintaining and restoring service for our customers is our top priority. In preparation for the storm, we called in all available field and support staff, who have been working around the clock since the beginning of the storm to sustain and restore services.

Here are some of the extra steps we’re taking to help our customers with storm-related support.

  • Throughout Christmas Day and Boxing Day, we are adding hundreds of staff to increase support staffing in our call centres by 40%
  • We will be adding 80 trucks to field operations on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to help customers
  • Additional network maintenance crews are deployed maintaining restoring service, and ensuring continued operation of our critical network locations throughout the holidays
  • We’ve made special arrangements to get phones out to customers and stores to fulfil orders delayed by the storm

Customers affected by home service interruptions may be unable to reach emergency services using their landline telephone. Ninety-five percent of wireless services are available and can be used to make emergency calls. We encourage our customers to check the status of their service and take precautionary steps.

We will continue to provide updates here on this blog post and through our @RogersHelps twitter account.

Here are answers to some of the questions we’re being asked in social media and in our call centres.

Q. What should I do if I have fallen branches or debris blocking access to Rogers cables? (Updated Dec. 27)

A. Our field technicians are making every possible effort to restore service. This includes applying temporary measures to bring your service back up as quickly as possible if the situation warrants it.

In some instances, fallen branches or debris are blocking this work from being completed. If your home requires clean up before a technician can resume work, please visit the City of Toronto Storm Update page for more information on safely removing debris. Once the area has been cleared, please call 1-888-Rogers-1 and we will revisit the site.

When will service be restored?

Unfortunately, we don’t know. Our teams are working around the clock to restore services as soon as possible. But to get things back to normal, we’re dependent on hydro providers restoring power to all our operations sites and to the homes we service. Toronto Hydro has said it could be several days before service is restored to all its customers.

Can I call in to get more detail on when my services will be back online?

No. Unfortunately, we do not have good visibility on when power will come back up for different parts of the city, so we can’t predict when Rogers services will be back online.

Once you have confirmed you have power to your house, call 1-888-ROGERS-1 and listen closely to the recorded messages. If we are aware of an outage in our area, we will specifically reference that we are aware. At this point, we ask for your patience while we work to restore service to your area. If the recorded message does not indicate an outage in your area, please stay on the line and speak to one of our technical support agents. We are experiencing higher than normal call volumes and appreciate your patience while you wait.

My Rogers services seem to be back online, but internet / TV still not working. How do I fix?

Try rebooting your modem, router and / or digital cable box. This will resolve many ongoing issues.

Why are my Rogers services still down even though hydro has been restored?

Some Rogers operations sites are without power. As power is restored to the home, Rogers services will be restored in most cases. In a small number of cases, Rogers services are still be down for customers who have Hydro because nearby Rogers operations sites still do not have power.

Do you have backup generators at your operations sites?

Yes. We have been relying on backup power sources to keep our network up for as many customers as possible and to power some of our call centres. We are moving portable generators from location to location to keep them charged and maintain and restore coverage.

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Rogers shoots and scores broadcast and multimedia deal with NHL

We’ve never been shy about our passion for sports at Rogers. And this morning we have cemented our sports leadership with a landmark 12-year broadcast and multimedia agreement with the National Hockey League that includes national rights on all platforms in all languages. The agreement begins with the 2014/15 season and continues through the 2025/26 season.

The deal is big news for hockey fans and for Rogers customers. It includes national rights across TV broadcasts, internet and mobile streaming, as well as all linear and digital highlights including condensed games and video archives. On any given night, Rogers will provide multiple game coverage on up to nine TV channels (including City and Sportsnet) plus digital and radio.

And we’re going to partner with CBC for English-language broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada and with TVA for all national French-language multimedia rights.

Here’s what people are saying about the deal:

“Sports content is a key strategic asset and we’ve been investing significantly to strengthen our sports offering to Canadians. Canadians are passionate about hockey, and through this landmark partnership with the NHL we’ll be able to bring hockey fans more games and more content on their platform of choice. We are proud to select CBC as our partner to carry on the Hockey Night in Canada tradition for Canadians. We are also excited about our long-standing sports alliance with TVA Sports and Quebecor, which will use its many channels and platforms to deliver French-language NHL coverage.” — Rogers president and CEO Nadir Mohamed

“Our fans always want to explore deeper and more emotional connections to NHL hockey, and that is precisely what Rogers has promised to deliver over the next 12 years – channeling the reach of its platforms and the intensity of its passion for the game into an unparalleled viewing experience.” — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman

“Our vision is to build on the NHL’s legacy in Canada with an emphasis on storytelling, innovation, and technology, weaving the NHL, its teams, and its stars even deeper into the fabric of Canadian culture.” — Keith Pelley, President, Rogers Media.

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It’s time for more flexible TV packages

In last week’s Speech from the Throne the federal government  came out in favour of more flexible TV packages for Canadian consumers.

This is something we’ve been advocating for years because we know it’s important for our customers.

“We are fighting aggressively for more-flexible packaging options,” Rogers senior vice president of content David Purdy told the Reuters news service last month.

Two years ago, we piloted a “pick and pay” cable TV service for our customers in London, Ontario. What we learned is that there are very real structural barriers that prevent us from delivering what customers want on a broad scale.

We look forward to an open dialogue with Ottawa, and to participating in the CRTC’s consultation on the future of television, which will launch on October 24. It’s an opportunity to hear from Canadians and to support changes in broadcasting regulations that will give Canadians more flexible packaging options. We encourage you to make your views known at www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/talktv-parlonstele.htm.

Do you want more flexibility in your cable TV packages?

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Share more of a good thing with Rogers

Three years ago you told us you wanted to share internet plans across all your devices. And way back in 2010, we responded, becoming the first service provider in Canada to announce data sharing plans.

Today we have more than one million customers sharing data between devices and family members. With our family plans, customers get one convenient bill to manage, plus unlimited talk and text, and a large bucket of data to share with the whole family. Individual plans allow customers to share their voice, text and data across all of their devices, including phones, tablets and sticks.

While Rogers customers have been at the forefront of data sharing, we’re working to make it even easier for families to share data across their connected tablets and smart phones. Stay tuned to RedBoard for the details and for more news on data sharing later this year.

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You’ve heard of Google Glass. Get ready for the Rogers Toque!

April Fools' DayPicture this: It’s the coldest day of a harsh Canadian winter and you’re trudging through a metre of snow to get to a curling bonspiel. The bitter wind is blowing in your eyes and the snowflakes are so big you can’t tell your polar bear from the caribou.

What if you could pull your toque down over your eyeballs and see a visualization of the street, maps, hockey scores and wildlife in vibrant colours right on the wool of your toque?

Well now you can – with the new Rogers Toque, coming this fall to Rogers retail locations.

“Glass-é is pass-é, but wool is cool,” said Rogers Chief Hat Technology Officer Abril Foosdhay. “Through the science of science, we have reinvented wearable technology for the Canadian climate.”

The Rogers Toque connects seamlessly to any LTE-powered smartphone providing the fastest and most reliable toque technology on the planet.

How does it work?

“The Rogers Toque essentially displays exactly what you would see in front of you except it does it on the wool toque that covers your eyes and prevents you from seeing exactly what you would have seen if there weren’t wool in front of your eyes,” Ms. Foosdhay explained.

Other features of the Rogers Toque include:

  • A built in stereo sound system
  • Sensors that monitor your brain frequency as you listen to music and plays Canadian hits by Celine Dion, Carly Rae Jepsen, Justin Bieber or Nickelback depending on your mood
  • Keeps your head warm

We don’t have pricing or launch timing yet, but click here to preregister for more information.

Happy April Fools’ Day from Rogers!

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AMC coming to Rogers customers in HD

Some of us at Rogers were so excited about getting AMC in HD, our inner zombies came out!

Zombies look better in HD. So do meth chefs and sixties-era ad execs.

Under a new agreement with AMC, Rogers digital customers will be able to watch shows like The Walking Dead, Mad Men and Breaking Bad in HD by the end of March. That’s in time for the season finale of The Walking Dead and ahead of the two hour season premiere of Mad Men on April 7.

The multi-year deal also allows you to access on-demand versions of your favourite shows soon after the TV debut. In addition, AMC content will be available to Rogers customers across multiple platforms.

Over the last few days, we’ve been clear that – despite reports to the contrary – we had no absolutely no intention of dropping AMC. It’s unfortunate that some of you were worried by rumours about the channel going dark. In our business, contract negotiations with content partners are routine. Our goal is to get the best programming while keeping costs down for you. We believe we’ve accomplished that in these negotiations.

So, with that out of the way a more important question: Which character from an AMC program would you most want by your side in an HD zombie apocalypse: Michonne or Darryl from The Walking Dead? How about Don or Joan from Mad Men? Or maybe Walter or Gus from Breaking Bad?

Update March, 20, 2013: AMC HD is now available to Rogers Digital TV customers in Ontario on channel 482.

Keith McArthur is VP of Social Media at Rogers

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Save the zombies: Let’s keep AMC on Rogers

You love zombies as much as we do. We’ve seen it in your e-mails, your tweets, and your Facebook posts. Some of your favourite shows (and ours!) are on AMC – shows like The Walking Dead, Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

You want to keep AMC on Rogers. And so do we.

In fact, we have been negotiating with AMC so we can keep bringing you these great shows.  These types of negotiations with our programming partners are routine. Our goal is to keep costs down for you and that means negotiating to get the best possible rates on the best programming.

But last night, AMC surprised us with a campaign that alarmed our customers with allegations that AMC was about to go dark on Rogers.

Let’s be clear: We have no intention of dropping AMC. Negotiations are ongoing and we expect to reach a positive outcome. Let’s hope AMC is as committed as we are to saving the zombies on Rogers.

Update March 1: Good news! Under a multi-year deal, Rogers customers will be getting AMC in HD by the end of March. Full details are here.

Keith McArthur is VP of Social Media at Rogers

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Brace for speed: Rogers LTE coming to 28 more cities in 2012

Get ready Hamilton. Buckle up Winnipeg. Things are about to get fast.

From Moncton, NB to Victoria, BC Rogers will be launching our next generation LTE services in 28 more cities in 2012. Add that to the seven markets where we’ve already launched and we’ll be in a total of 35 of Canada’s top markets by the end of 2012, covering 60 per cent of the Canadian population.

One year ago, on July 7, 2011, I was lucky enough to join a team of Rogers network engineers for the historic moment they lit up Ottawa with Canada’s first LTE network. It was a fun day, marked with flashmobs and a mobile demonstration of broadband speeds on our LTE bus as it moved through the streets of Ottawa.

The excitement from Ottawa was contagious. We’ve heard from you about the amazing ways LTE is changing your lives. Many of you have reached out to us to let us know you want LTE in your city. And we’re investing to deliver – approximately $2.2 billion in wireless capital investments across Canada in 2011 and 2012, including close to $500 million to bring the first LTE network to the majority of Canadians by the end of 2012. And we’re not resting there. More cities will be launched in 2013. Here’s a complete list of markets where the Rogers LTE experience is already live:

  • Calgary
  • Halifax
  • Montreal and surrounding area
  • Ottawa and surrounding area
  • St. John’s
  • Toronto and surrounding area
  • Vancouver and surrounding area

And here’s a list of where our LTE network will be live by the end of the year:

  • Abbotsford
  • Ajax
  • Barrie
  • Burlington
  • Cambridge
  • Edmonton
  • Guelph
  • Hamilton
  • Kelowna
  • Kingston
  • Kitchener
  • London
  • Moncton
  • Niagara
  • Oakville
  • Oshawa
  • Pickering
  • Regina
  • Saskatoon
  • Sherbrooke
  • St. Catharines
  • Sudbury
  • Waterloo
  • Windsor
  • Winnipeg
  • Trois-Rivières
  • Quebec City
  • Victoria

Keith McArthur is VP of Social Media at Rogers

UPDATE (December 5, 2012, 9:10 a.m.): Rogers now expects to launch LTE in Winnipeg next year. Rogers offers the largest and growing selection of the most popular LTE smartphones, tablets and mobile Internet devices. LTE-enabled, devices work on the Rogers 4G HSPA+ network in Manitoba today and will be ready when we launch LTE in Manitoba. In addition, as Rogers customers travel across Canada their Rogers device will automatically benefit from LTE coverage in the many markets where LTE has already launched. The Rogers LTE network is available in select Canadian cities; visit rogers.com/lte for coverage details.

 

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