The Residential Broadband Users’ Association

February 5th, 2002

Rogers Meeting Agenda:

  • Review of the Success of the Transition Away from Excite@Home
Presented by John Tory, President and CEO, Rogers Cable
  • comments made regarding the difficulty of the transition, the lack of time that was available to perform it and how successfully Rogers implemented it in the end

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

  • Call Center Stats, Customer Service Issues, Problems and Planned Improvements
Presented by Vic Pollen, Senior VP of Customer Care, Rogers Cable

RBUA Meeting Agenda:

Current Issues

1. Shaw -> Rogers Cable Asset Swap and Integration

  • Rogers inherited many problems from Shaw
  • Rogers saw a 40% increase in subscriber bandwidth usage in November and a further doubling of usage since then
  • most Motorola performance issues caused by ingress noise
  • the noise problem can be caused by an array of sources of electromagnetic radiation ingressing into older cabling
  • total network rebuild is currently underway in ex-Shaw areas and will consist of a 750 MHz, fiber-to-the-feeder architecture; could take another year to complete
  • Rogers is currently investigating short term fixes to problems and will implement “band-aid” solutions, such as plant rehardening, until the network rebuild is complete
  • further performance problems were due to a moratorium imposed on all capacity upgrades during the transition; capacity upgrades have since recommenced
  • Rogers does not believe that CMTS (i.e. cablemodem termination system, or the cablemodems used to serve subscribers' connections at the primary hubs) overloading is the problem
  • deployment of DOCSIS cablemodems to subscribers in the aforementioned 7 problematic areas, around June of this year, may possibly help the situation; Rogers is pessimistic
  • Rogers will communicate with subscribers in these areas to let them know what's going on with their service and what will be done about it

2. Mail Server Issues

  • over a million mailboxes had to be transitioned from @Home to Rogers; there were some errors inputting e-mail IDs; Excite@Home was not cooperative at the onset of the conversion
  • many mistakes were made due to the time constraints and pressures of the transition
  • Rogers / Compaq / Openwave is aware of the issues with the e-mail forwarders, mailing lists and Mac Eudora mail clients, and is working to resolve them; no time frame given
  • problem with Rogers Postmaster address bouncing will be corrected immediately; it wasn't corrected earlier due to a miscommunication with us
  • Rogers is not in direct control of their mail servers; this contracted out to Compaq / Openwave; Rogers has to wait for them to resolve issues
  • web-based e-mail launch was pushed back; security audit found some problems, which were subsequently corrected; some questions remain regarding capacity; hopefully will be launched in a few weeks

3. Mass Network Performance Issues

  • all capacity upgrades halting during transition; some areas slightly loaded; upgrades were recently recommenced; all congestion relief / provisioning is 3 months behind schedule
  • DOCSIS deployment was also pushed back 3 months to mid-May of this year
  • Rogers's new regional IP network outperforming @Home's old network
  • new Rogers internet connectivity provided by Teleglobe and private peering arrangements with various backbones
  • complete cutover from @Home's network to new transit / peering arrangements is to be done gradually by the end of February
  • Rogers to have a second transit backbone provider by March
  • regular bandwidth will be load balanced and connectivity will be 100% redundant

4. News Server Issues

  • as with mail, Rogers is not in direct control of the news servers
  • concerning the binary retention and completion problems, the newsfeeds are functioning properly and 1 terabyte of storage capacity was added last week
  • Rogers is currently investigating other problems, both hardware- and software-related as the cause of poor binary retention; no time frame given for resolution

5. Customer Support Issues

  • Rogers continues to maintain that the vast majority of those calling the customer support line experience hold times no longer than 5-10 minutes in duration
  • no other points addressed; please see points 4 and 5 of Important Odds and Ends below

6. Disclosure of Information to Customers

  • Rogers's own market research shows that the vast majority of their subscribers don't want to be inundated with the technical details of their internet service
  • an opt-in mailing list, or website section is a possibility for subscribers who wish to obtain such information
  • no other points addressed; please see points 4 and 5 of Important Odds and Ends below

7. Transition from Excite@Home to Rogers

Revisited / Pending Issues

8. Compensation / Credit for Faulty or Nonexistent Service

  • again, not addressed due to the pending lawsuit against Rogers

9. DOCSIS Details

  • DOCSIS deployment was pushed back 3 months to mid-May of this year
  • Rogers plans to introduce 3 separate service tiers, but wouldn't reveal what the parameters of those tiers are, what the price ranges would be, or even when they would be implemented
  • Rogers has promised to work with us to determine the characteristics of the 3 tiers
  • an official statement regarding our stance on service tiering will be forthcoming

Important Odds and Ends

Prepared by Christopher Weisdorf

President and Technical Director,
Residential Broadband Users’ Association

Major contributions by Bryan Samis

Senior Member, Toronto

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