For this chapter of my Guide, I assume that:
- You subscribe to Rogers Internet service. Most or all of these instructions very likely apply to Bell, Telus and Shaw, but I have experience only with Rogers.
- You are, or very soon will be, off contract. If you aren’t, it may still be profitable to break your long-term Rogers agreement. Do the math: start with what you pay Rogers every month for Internet service, minus what you would spend at TekSavvy, multiplied by the number of months you have left in your Rogers agreement, minus the Rogers early-cancellation fee ($20 per remaining month, up to a maximum of $400). If you have money left over, it’s worth your while to switch.
- TekSavvy cable Internet service is available in your neighbourhood or multiunit dwelling. You may live in an apartment building that is under contract to one of the Big Telecom companies. If you do, then you have no alternative but to use that company for your Internet service. Or you can move.
- Call TekSavvy (877-779-1575) to confirm that they offer cable Internet service in your neighbourhood or multiunit dwelling. Don’t use the postal-code verification form on TekSavvy’s website. It’s virtually useless.
- Call Rogers to cancel your Internet service and request a disconnection date that falls on a weekday.
- Call TekSavvy again with your cable Internet service subscription order and Rogers disconnection date.
- On the day your Rogers service is to end, connect your Internet cable to your new Thomson Technicolor DCM476.
- Return your leased Rogers cable modem.
Hows and Whys
Rogers, Bell, Telus and Shaw control about 94% of all Internet business in Canada. They package digitized voice, data, audio and audio-visual programming, and distribute it across their Internet-enabled digital networks. This is known as convergence. It’s a very lucrative racket.
Once they have you locked in to one of their mealy residential Internet plans, they can very easily sell you their other overpriced services (home phone, cable TV, wireless – in some cases, home security) by bundling them together with a paltry savings incentive – usually a few percentage points off your monthly king’s ransom – to make it feel like you’ve negotiated a bargain.
Conversely, they also know that once they lose your Internet business, they’ve pretty much lost everything. So when you switch Internet service providers, prepare for a fight. Or, more appropriately, make ready to deal with the Devil. This isn’t so much a pitched battle as it is a succession of cunningly subversive temptations, poured into your ear like a honeyed potion.
You must provide at least 30 days’ notice to terminate a Big Telecom service, even if you are not on contract. There is no rational explanation for why this should be.
When you call, and choose whatever auto attendant menu option your provider offers to cancel a service, you’ll be directed immediately to retentions.
For those of you who don’t know the term: retentions departments are staffed not with low-level customer-service representatives but with highly-trained individuals who are empowered to retain your business by any necessary means. These people have the authority to offer “unpublicized incentives” to keep you from defecting. Such incentives will not be exactly what your new ISP offers, but close enough to tempt you to stay. This is the essence of the Faustian bargain they wish to strike.
Resist. Any offer they make will come with a datacap.
If you remember from my previous chapter: TekSavvy publicizes but does not actually enforce datacaps, except in very specific circumstances. For 1080p content streaming, you must have Internet download speeds of at least 12 to 15 megabits per second, and no cap on the amount of data you consume. (Speed goes to quality of service; the cap means an expensive surprise at the end of every month.)
If Rogers is prepared to offer both speed and unlimited data at a price that favourably compares to TekSavvy (unlikely), then by all means stay. Otherwise, thank your retentions rep for her very kind proposal and ask for a disconnection date. Be sure to ask for a weekday disconnection. TekSavvy does not connect on weekends.
Do not cancel your cable television subscription! As a Rogers bandwidth reseller, TekSavvy will use the same cable connection to provide Internet service to your home. But that cable needs to be live or you’ll pay a $65 activation fee. Besides, you may still decide to keep some part of your cable service, after you’ve tried streaming for a few weeks. Streaming, exclusively without cable television, isn’t for everyone.
With your Rogers disconnection date in hand, call TekSavvy to order their cable Internet service. TekSavvy will note your disconnection date, process your first month’s payment, and work with Rogers to transfer your Internet service. You will not need to sign a long-term agreement with TekSavvy. You will not need to be home when the service transfer takes place.
Don’t be alarmed if Rogers throws a spike strip onto the road, at any point during this process. Stay calm. Work with TekSavvy to provide whatever spurious nonsense Rogers needs to let you go. In our case, the transfer went very smoothly and required no intervention on our part.
If all goes well, you’ll experience perhaps a half day of downtime. (Thomson DCM476 firmware does not work with Rogers Internet service, so you’re stuck until TekSavvy takes over.) If you’re at work during the transfer, then you obviously won’t notice. If you’re at home, read a book or something.
Better yet, use the time to return your Rogers cable modem. Rogers won’t close your account until it gets its equipment back. It may even continue to bill you for Internet service. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Geoblocking! It’s fairly technical. Don’t worry: we’ll take it nice and slow.