The Residential Broadband Users’ Association

August 1st, 2001

Meeting Attendees from Rogers:

  • John H. Tory, Q.C., President and CEO, Rogers Cable
  • Dermot O’Carroll, Senior Vice President, Network Engineering and Operations, Rogers Cable
  • Bill Lukewich, Vice President and General Manager, Greater Toronto Area, Rogers Cable
  • Frank Eberdt, Vice President and General Manager, SouthWestern Ontario, Rogers Cable
  • Vic Pollen, Senior Vice President, Rogers Cable / Director of Customer Care and Operations, Rogers@Home
  • Nancy Cottenden, Manager, Media Relations, Rogers Cable
  • J.T. Pearson, Manager, Service Management Centre, Rogers Cable
  • Andrew Ho, Director of Network Operations, Service Management Centre, Rogers Cable
  • Scott Hunter, Vice President, Engineering, Rogers Cable
  • Glenn Beeswanger, Vice President, Operations, Excite@Home
Meeting Attendees from the Residential Broadband Users' Association:

  • Christopher Weisdorf, President and Technical Director, RBUA
  • Wojtek Zlobicki, Regional Representative for Brampton and Mississauga, RBUA
  • Bryan Samis, Senior Member, RBUA
  • Jason deCourcy, Senior Member, RBUA
  • Rob Borek, Senior Member, RBUA

Rogers Meeting Agenda:

  • Network Architecture Issues, Problems and Planned Improvements
Presented by Dermot O'Carroll, Senior VP of Network Engineering and Operations, Rogers Cable

  • Customer Service Issues, Problems and Planned Improvements
Presented by Vic Pollen, Director of Customer Care and Operations, Rogers@Home

RBUA Meeting Agenda:

Current Issues

1. Shaw -> Rogers Cable Asset Swap and Integration

  • it is very troubling to note that a disproportional amount of subscribers with Motorola cablemodems are STILL experiencing excessively poor service
  • data segment overcrowding appears to be rampant
  • all areas seem to be affected, particularly the McNicoll (Scarborough) segment
  • subscribers are not being given resolution dates, nor are they being told what the problem is
  • when modems are reset, performance is momentarily acceptable
  • the swap has been a great detriment and burden to many of these subscribers in Ontario; the BC transition has gone quite a bit more smoothly
  • we ask again: is there any light at the end of the tunnel for the ex-Shaw subscribers?

2. Mail server issues

  • spam is on the rise
  • service failures, although far less common than before, are still occurring
  • mail down for all @Home subscribers (~3.5 million) between 9 and 10 PM on July 9th; never disclosed publicly
  • other mail (SMTP) failures reported on July 23rd and July 24th during the day; no disclosure by either Rogers or @Home

3. News Server and Corporate Censorship Issues

  • binary retention is extremely low (only 10½ - 11 hours) for news1.rdc2.on.home.com (
  • many of the ex-Shaw subscribers are allocated to this server
  • binary retention on news3.rdc1.on.wave.home.com ( has gradually diminished from 150-200 hours to 65-70 hours over the past 2-3 months
  • will this trend continue and if so, for how long?
  • on June 21st @Home discontinued several newsgroups from their news feed, as a result of pressure being put on them by the MPAA via the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
  • the implications of this action are alarming and disturbing: US law is being applied to Canadian soil; the burden is being placed on the carrier, rather than on the original poster of the allegedly copyrighted content; there are absolutely no checks and balances, so this amounts to ad hoc corporate censorship
  • it is easy to see why @Home complied with the MPAA’s demands; that doesn’t make this right, however
  • the RBUA senior membership doesn’t see this as a major problem, since there are still hundreds of newsgroups where binary posting activity goes unrestricted
  • we have logged many complaints from our constituents about the removal of these groups, so this issue is viewed as important by our group

4. Disclosure of Information to Customers

  • subscriber call histories, trouble tickets, technician visit reports and other useful items continue to drop off the face of the earth
  • the support site is very rarely updated with information concerning current or recently resolved network issues
  • information that is actually disclosed is often devoid of any details or useful data, except for approximate dates, times and locations
  • upon the infrequent event that the site is actually updated, subscribers can’t check back on previous outages or problems because none of them are ever archived
  • ever since our first meeting in March of 1999 we have been asking for a real-time, or near real-time (i.e. updated within 5 minutes) network status page- what are your reasons for never having implemented this?
  • current network and server outages should always be announced on Rogers Community Television
  • very little progress has been made on these issues over the past two and a half years, let alone since April

5. Excite@Home’s Financial Situation

  • @Home is in dire financial straits and has been for some time
  • it is a very real and distinct possibility that the company will not make it into 2002
  • does Rogers have a contingency plan in place to ensure the delivery of uninterrupted and non-problematic service for subscribers in the event that @Home files for bankruptcy?

6. Backbone, Peering and Redundancy Issues

  • after many months of very impressive performance, major overloading has been occurring on the @Home-Sprintlink and @Home-UUNET interconnects over the past 7-10 days; overloading is evident mainly during peak hours; when will it subside?
  • unrelated to @Home’s backbone, Bell Nexxia has been experiencing severe problems for some time; unless there is no option, subscribers’ packets should be routed via other backbones
  • efficient and effective peering at York Mills has been gone for months- what happened?
  • peering with GT (Group Telecom) has been implemented near flawlessly and is very impressive
  • when will the aforementioned backbone redundancy officially be in place? Is September still viable?

7. Cablemodem Provisioning

  • strange problems still come to pass due to the current arrangement, with @Home performing these functions
  • any time a subscriber wishes to change the name under which their account is under, almost everything that can go wrong, does go wrong
  • subscribers in this situation have their client names (i.e. cr000000-a) and IP addresses altered, but are never informed about the changes
  • connectivity is often lost for days while things get sorted out
  • at the very least, subscribers should be notified of exactly what network parameters will change before anything gets underway; nothing should even need to change with an accommodating provisioning system, however
  • when will modem provisioning finally be under Rogers’s full control?

Revisited / Pending Issues

8. Local Congestion, Saturation and Overcrowding

  • there have been recent saturation problems with the OC-48 ring covering SWO / GTA
  • TL-1000 headend controllers are no longer overloaded; massive improvement has been yielded on this front over the past 3-4 months
  • nowadays, ex-Shaw subscribers are almost exclusively affected by local saturation issues: great work with the Terayon architecture; not so great work with the Motorolas
  • saturation problems affect and hinder virtually every aspect of the service
  • dialup service can best many of the connections that we’ve dealt with in the past

9. Customer Support Issues

  • no busy signals or excessive hold times reported since March
  • trouble tickets are still being closed without subscribers’ knowledge or consent
  • any past documentation or call history of the subscriber continues to be wiped clean from the system after a fairly brief period of time
  • subscribers’ machines are still being blamed for network-related problems, without sufficient prior investigation
  • subscribers are being treated with more respect than before, although not enough information is being disclosed, as noted above

10. Compensation / Credit for Faulty or Nonexistent Service

  • credit looks like it’s being applied to most subscribers’ accounts much more easily and without hassle most of the time; changes took place after the last meeting
  • credit policy is still inconsistent and unclear: are credits to be applied before or after a problem is resolved? Under what conditions is a full credit to be applied? How about a 50% credit? Who makes the final decision?
  • early 2000 (lack of) mail service credit still never clarified to subscribers- why not? This notice is still readily available on the rogers.home.com server and really should be clarified.

11. Additional Server Issues

  • in late March our DHCP servers were altered so that they would renew leases upon broadcast requests only; subscribers must release their DHCP bindings (configuration) first before renewing, or no action will take place; why did this (seemingly illogical) change take place?
  • due to the problems with adhering to it with older MacOS and Linux operating systems, along with the benefits of troubleshooting, DHCP should never be forced upon subscribers
  • we are fine with Rogers not officially supporting static configurations, but the current approach to handling this is wrong
  • DNS resolution sometimes reported as being slow, especially when resolving @Home private IP’s
  • after about 11 months, @Home’s IRC server status is still officially unexplained
  • @Home members.home.com has been without incident since mid-April

12. DOCSIS Details

  • when will DOCSIS modem trials officially commence?
  • when will broad DOCSIS deployment officially commence?
  • will there be any change in billing for subscribers with DOCSIS modems (and all other subscribers in the long run)?
  • will subscribers have to shell out a monthly modem rental fee upon the deployment of these devices?
  • the last details should be made very public ASAP, as there is much speculation by the subscriber base surrounding DOCSIS

Estimated duration of meeting: 3 hours

Prepared by Christopher Weisdorf

President and Technical Director,
Residential Broadband Users’ Association

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