Today Jill and I completed the switch away from one of Canada’s Big Telecoms, Rogers, to an indie ISP called Teksavvy. This is about what that process was like.
There’re a bunch of stories floating around about how hard it is to switch cable providers. I just want to get those out of the way: they’re mostly not true. You don’t, for example, have to pay Teksavvy for a year upfront. That said, there were some rough patches — which mostly seemed to be oligopolistic roadblocks designed to favor incumbents.
I took notes during the transition, and I’ll present those here. But first, pictures! Here’s speed under Rogers. This is one of the reasons Canada has famously bad internet service:
And here’s Teksavvy crushing Rogers’ download speed with a less expensive plan:
I was surprised to see Teksavvy’s upload speed at around half of Rogers’, but my home up-spout doesn’t need to be fat — I’m mostly sending requests to trigger downloads. Still, Teksavvy’s communication around that could have been clearer. It was a small disappointment.
On to the numbers. Here’s the breakdown of what it cost to switch in cold, hard Queenbacks:
|Thomson DCM 476||$99.00||New, faster cable modem needed.|
|Modem Shipping||$10.00||Teksavvy sold and shipped modem.|
|Cable service activation||$65.00||Teksavvy hookup fee (?)|
|Cable activation fee discount||($20.00)||Fee discount!|
|Cable Move Fee||$65.00||Incumbent disconnection fee.|
|ASUS RT-AC66U||$190.00||Shiny new WiFi router.|
|Total Upfront costs||$409.00|
|TekSavvy monthly cost||$54.00|
|Rogers monthly cost||$70.00|
|Payback months||25.56||Just over two years to recoup.|
Twenty-six months from now the savings from leaving Rogers will surpass the costs of changing to Teksavvy, all while enjoying a faster connection — it’s a no-brainer. There are also potential cost savings in the router — I wanted 802.11ac support so I bought the highest-testing unit on Tom’s Hardware — and in the modem, which you can find cheaper online.
It’s very disappointing to see both disconnection and reconnection fees adding over 33% to the total cost, when the actual change seems to be who’s billing me for using extant infrastructure. Again, this seems to be a boon to incumbents — a deterrent against and penalty for leaving their garden.
A final note about costs: I am *sure*, but I have no proof, that our Rogers service included a free router-modem as a promotion when we signed up. On reviewing our bills it turns out that was probably a misrepresentation by the sales associate — we’ve been charged a monthly rental fee for the thing this whole time, rolled into the price.
“With an honest man no contract is necessary. With a dishonest man no contract is sufficient.”
So yeah: a failure of judgement on my part — trusting a Rogers employee (presumably one on commission) was a bad move. Here are some qualitative points about the switch:
- It takes 30 days to disconnect from Rogers (another perk of being the incumbent). Just tell them you’re leaving the province if you want to avoid the up-sell and begging when you call to cancel.
- I scheduled Teksavvy connection the day after Rogers disconnection. Disconnection happens around midnight, so you don’t have Internet on disconnection day. Connection happens during business hours on connection day. Result: about 32 hours with no internet. The horror… the horror… j/k: I tethered my phone and shared the connection — have a backup plan.
- Try to schedule Teksavvy connection a day or two before Rogers disconnection. It might cut your downtime to zero: see what happens.
- TekSavvy’s billing system is a bit goofy — it gives you something like three warnings before canceling your order. I confirmed my order and then it warned me to confirm again (“strike two of three”)! I responded to that right away and accounting sorted it out.
- TekSavvy generally has fantastic, responsive email support across all departments.
- There was a *slight* hiccough in setup because our building is weird and they couldn’t identify the apartment by postal address. Teksavvy called me to fix it right away, weeks before it would have been an issue.
- No on-site installation was necessary (whereas Rogers sent a tech).
- TekSavvy’s hold music is dubstep.
I’ll update if there’s more to say, but so far, so good. I’m very pleased with the result. It feels good to get out from under Big Telecom. Payin’ less and gettin’ more — bro, I know that feel.