Welcome to the battle of the Internet Service Providers! In the blue corner we have Bell Canada. Weighing in at 50,000 employees and based in Montreal. In the red corner we have Rogers. Weighing in at 28,000 employees and based in Toronto.
If you are one of the few people in Ontario who don’t have internet I hope this post can enlighten you on the pros and cons of the two biggest internet suppliers here. I’m going to cover price, speed and customer service in this battle royal.
First of all, I don’t use either service but I have worked for Rogers in the past. I don’t think that will cause a bias (I worked on the mobile side of things, not the Internet) but you can take that any way you see fit. I’ll try to put aside all my biases, ignore my emotions and work on pure stats.
This is what most people are going to look at first. The average person isn’t going to need a super fast internet connection and terabytes of bandwidth at their disposal. They just want the cheapest way possible to get their e-mail and Facebook.
If price is all you care about Bell wins this battle pretty easily. Their least expensive plan is $24.95 a month while Rogers is at $27.99 a month. I must warn you that both of these prices have an asterisk beside them. Bell says ‘in a Bell bundle’ and Rogers doesn’t mention what the asterisk is for. Meaning the prices will probably be a lot higher in real life.
Thankfully neither option forces you into a contract unless you bundle them with other services. The problem is that both options kind of suck. Especially if you plan on streaming video or doing any online gaming.
Both companies have other plans for those of you not happy with the absolute minimum. Rogers goes from ‘ultralite’ to ‘Ultimate’ with the price ranging from $27.99 a month to $99 a month. Bell on the other hand goes from $24.05 for ‘Essential Plus’ to only $55.95 for their new ‘Fibe 25’ plan.
Taking a look at the least expensive option again you’ll see that Bell gives you download speeds of up to 2Mbits/second while Rogers doesn’t even advertise their speed. This is because Rogers speed will vary depending on the time of day, how many people are connected etc. Which ever one you choose you’ll find that you’ll never get the speed advertised.
Both companies have a download cap of 2 gigs. This has come under scrutiny lately because of issues with tracking and many people calling for an unlimited download option. Both companies also offer a free wireless router when you sign up. This means you’ll have a wireless hotspot in your house no matter which company you choose.
Other than that you’ll find the regular plethora of features from both companies. Features like e-mail addresses, web space, security software, parental controls and all that. No one really uses these so I wont go over them in depth.
This section is entirely subjective and really impossible to judge. No matter what company you go with there is a chance that you’ll get great customer service and a chance you’ll get crappy service. It depends on your issue, the time of day and sometimes just plain luck.
Both companies advertise 24 hour customer service and tout how amazing they are at it but in reality there is no way to know which is better. What I can tell you is that both use call centres here in North America.
Who should you choose?
To be frank there is no winner. Both have positive and negatives. With the way the industry has been the past few years neither has really had an incentive to offer anything mind blowing in terms of services or features.
You’ll find basically the same services, basically the sames prices and basically the same technology with both. You can argue about the differences between cable and DSL til your blue in the face but it won’t make that fact untrue.
I guess you can choose the one who has the best advertising. Or check out one of the smaller providers such as Teksavvy.