Update: Rogers discontinuing Portable Internet service March 1st, 2012, now only option for rural customers is a 4G HSPA+ device

Ian Hardy

December 14, 2011 9:21 am


Inukshuk Wireless is a joint venture formed in 2005 by Bell and Rogers that brought pre-Wimax high-speed fixed wireless service to those located in remote areas of Canada. Bell and Rogers independently sell various internet products and the roll out has been slow, but certainly needed. Apparently Rogers customers who have signed up for the Portable Internet service have been informed that the service will be discontinued effective March 1st, 2012 – with the only option to switch to Rogers “4G” HSPA+ device, such as a Rocket Hub or internet stick.

A letter we obtained doesn’t give any details of why it’s being cut, but offers a deal to those customers of a free Rocket Hub (they’ll have to sign up for a 2-year contract to get it). Customers can also opt to purchase the Hub outright for $400. Several Rogers customers contacted us and stated their current monthly internet rates are between $30 – $60. With this switch the monthly rates for these customers will be more expensive. Rogers says the best route is to go with the “flex plan” that starts at $48.86/mo for 3GB data, then gradually increases to $93.86/mo for the 15GB plan with each additional GB priced at $10.

It’s certainly an interesting move. We’re not sure if Bell is doing the same for their customers, but it could be a sign that the Inukshuk network is coming to an end, mainly to focus on the deployment of LTE (Long Term Evolution).

Update: Rogers has sent us a note stating the following:

“Yes, we’re in the process of switching our current portable Internet customers in rural areas to a faster, more reliable personal internet service. Portable Internet has been a good solution for customers who have historically not had access to high speed services, but now there are better solutions available to them. The change does not affect our Rogers Hi Speed Internet customers.

Pricing will depend on how much data a customer uses and which product they’ve subscribed to. As the letter states, a Flex Rate plan is a good option, however if people are worried about going over their caps, there are larger bucket options. As always, we also offer ways for customers to manage their data use through their MyRogers account to monitor their usage. In the event a customer does accidentally use more data than their plan allows, we will cap the cost of overage at $100 to avoid bill uncertainty.”

Thoughts?

  • Alex Perrier

    As long as they provide the same service at the same price, ie. $45/month for 30 GB. Otherwise, they’re ROBBERS. i’ve also had a poor experience with 3G+/”4G” Internet in rural areas with Bellus. Rogers must provide a good service to its customers.

    • Robert

      Bell and Rogers while advising how much they will take care of rural canadians with the auctioned 700mhz band now pulls the plug. Cmon. I got three phone calls. No one mentioned that there was a cap at 3 gb.. what the .. is someone going to do with 3 gb. They assume you are stupid.

      Now that turbo hub they offer. You can buy a stick and get your own hub. Most will work. Look at what they charge you for using the hub. It is really dumb. You will pay for a new hub in the first year 4 times over. In two years you will pay for 10 hubs. You can get a wifi dock for less then 100.00. You can get a hub that will take 64 people at once.

      My solution. I am going with Verizon. I can get a US based address and get all my services from that address. I get a magic number and not only is the cell phone on a family plan about 1/4 of the bill in Canada. I no longer need my land line. Verizon plan is national plus Canada. No long distance or roaming in the USA or CAnada. NOT EVEN FOR INTERNET> They have a dataplan that gives you 20 gb for 80.00. Check the cost of Bell 20 gb. Screw Bell and Rogers I am going to get my services in the USA. Let the CRTC try and challenge my constitutional rights. I kind of like that Direct TV offering as well.

      My bum got sore for the last time. Bell wants 45 dollars for 3 gb. 10 dollars for each gb. Do the math people. What would 20 gb cost.

      magic number. + telus pay as you go card for 100 annually with 7.00 feature connected to the magic number.. plus telus internet. = my bum stops hurting.

  • Sean

    Agreed they should offer the service at the same price to the people because they don’t really seem to have other options and the new prices are way way higher then before

  • Katie Little

    Wow…. Rogers and Bell are just raping our wallets. 2 years term and doubling the service fee? How does that make sense?

    • Tammy

      i love rogers, no problems with them in the past and i am able to bundle my services so i get an even further discount! Can’t beat that anywhere else. I have everything with rogers and always will. hail big red!

  • Roberto Infusino

    They are only focusing on your wallet.

  • Yannick

    first inukshuk was launched by Fido in the early 2000′s…. Rogers only got to it when they purchased Fido in ’04.

    The main goal with Inukshuk ( when Fido launched it ) was to provide a reliable internet access to those up north at a reasonable cost.

    Now Rogers is killing that just to make more money!

    ROBBERS, always ROBBERS.

  • skrutor

    The biggest joke is I dont live up north, I’m in rural Ottawa city limits. LTE stops a few kilometers away, and the rates are not comparable anyway. What happened to the rural stimulus project for broadband?

  • Alnjai

    It makes sense when these companies spend billions on r&d and also purchasing equiptment and installing services in the worlds second largest country. Its amazing how much people depend and use the Internet yet refuses to pay for it. You don’t like the price then don’t use the Internet. Don’t get a cell. Theres plenty of people in 3rd world countries that has no Internet or cell service. That is if you don’t mind living like a caveman. Don’t take what you have for granted.

  • Orlando

    My immediate reaction after reading this article: “F-CKING A-HOLES!!”

  • Andy

    They also offer Rocket Hub for rural areas … http://www.rogers.com/rockethub

  • M1K3Z0R

    So much free market choice in Canada, in that you agree to pay up Rogers fees and get locked in for 2 years, or go back to dialup. Problem? The CRTC will disagree

  • Andy

    And besides, portable internet was so archaic…carry around a bulky modem you have to plug into an electrical outlet, and use the internet.

    With Rocket Hub, you get internet and phone in one.

    • Quinten

      And besides, portable internet was so archaic…carry around a bulky modem you have to plug into an electrical outlet, and use the internet
      *************************************************
      Yes, this is a lot better, carry around a bulky rocket hub you have to plug into an electrical outlet, to use the internet and PAY 100% MORE!

  • rob

    They are losing a lot of money maintaining the service. Only option would be to raise the rates, or discontinue it. Sine the technology sucked, they chose to discontinue. But rates would have gone up either way, or caps introduced. It sucks for those benefiting from the service, but if its not profitable, it makes no sense to keep it.

  • altf4

    Inukshuk Bought out the Radio Spectrum that Craig Wireless(skyweb) owned in MB. SKyweb was My only real option for an ISP at the time. Forcing me to got o EVDO..ya EVDO. I’m now on the HSPA+(not with Rogers, but I still have a stupid 10gig Soft cap that throttles from 4pm-12pm)

    Since the purchase Inukshuk(Bell/Rogers) has done little to nothing(in my region) with the radio Freq they bought under this name. Inukshuk mission statement was to the effect of Supplying Remote Areas with broadband. What they really did was take it away. All this signed off by the Brilliant Tony Clement.

    They’ve been sitting on the spectrum..they’ll dissolve Inukshuk and take the chunk of radio spectrum and dole it out to their own Bell or Rogers LTE networks. I’m guessing that this was all planned out as the means to gain the the Spectrum without the purchase being shutdown by the CRTC. Since Rogers or Bell wouldn’t have been allowed to buy it under their names.

    Nice work on improving the availability of broadband to Canadians..Whole regions of the country can’t use Netflix or watch Youtube. Even the terms of use state something about not intended for Multimedia streaming.

    /end rant

  • John

    Instead of bitching,write to a local MP.

    • Bryan

      Like Writing to an MP of the Republicain party of Canada will work, they actually don’t care about real canadians, my boss has tried with differents community projects to get high speed internet at his town, he lives like 10 min away from a city of 50000 and he get shutdown by telus that blocks his projects and the city that get paid by telus to block anything that is not them, the only high speed he can get is hspa+ service and pay 5 cents a meg extra if he goes over 10 gig…. so now imagine how much he pays if he does more then just read email like you tube, last bill he got was 800$….. for 30 gig of usage…. sorry big fail for robellus….

  • Eric V.

    They use that phrase “valued Rogers customer” like it’s a rubber stamp. They should start doing something to prove it, instead of sounding like a bunch of vultures hovering over your wallet.

  • ind

    How many of you are even using this portable internet service? Just another opportunity for you to b***h and complain

    • Quinten

      Ok, you asked, I have 70 plus customers in Muskoka using Rogers portable Internet. They all use the outdoor version of the Rogers device. ie: it’s installed at the peak of their roof or up their tv antenna tower. One of my customers actually has it installed on a tree 200 feet up a hill from his house.
      The portable internet offering has been a Godsend for these people and for many of them the new Rogers solution isn’t an option. If I climb up on their roof and my Rogers cell phone doesn’t work, the Rocket hub isn’t going to work for them either. Even with the outdoor Yagi antenna.
      Add to that, these people have been paying ~$50/month for 30 GB and now Rogers is guaranteeing that the cost will only double under the new plan. That’s after they purchase an antenna and have it installed ~$300? and assuming the service is available. And how long do you think that cap will last?
      I’ve been a Rogers customer up here since the 90′s and I can tell you, when Ted died, it really started to slide.

  • ra

    Looks like they want to blackmail whoever they can to get the 700mhz spectrum. They probably are planning to argue that they can provide internt to rural communities only if they get the 700mz and 700 mhz is not srt aside for new companies.

    They want to buy all the 700mhz spectrum so that new companies cant buy any . They just want to eliminate competition.

  • Casey

    It sounds as if HSPA+ is a major technology upgrade over the existing service.

    Is it the same coverage area as Inukshuk?

    I loathe Rogers, but can we really expect them to continue offering a service that loses money just to be “nice guys”?

  • AllanVS

    Bell stopped offering this service in July 2010.
    It’s a great service, and I preferred it over standard internet, as I could take it with me… oh, and “Andy” the modem is NOT that bulky. It fit perfectly into a backpack, and it weighs less than most power supplies for laptops.

    • Alex Perrier

      No, Portable Internet is still available on Bell’s website. They’ve even added extra places where you can subscribe to the service. Do you have a paper that says that your service will be canceled?

  • Andy

    I’m as much of a critic as the next guy but it’s postings like this that really show how such a select few just b***h to b***h. No one uses this service, wireless (HSPA and up) are the future solutions for problems like these.

    Mobile Syrup is becoming such a wasteland for uninformed angry kids these days.

  • James Steven

    I agree with Andy. Seriously guys, nobody uses this. And once again, you guys want coverage across one of the largest countries in the world, with the least amount of wireless users…and on top of that, you’d like it to be as cheap as say, USA?

    Well, I want a Mercedes Benz for 149$ a month. Why? Because Hyundai sells a car for that much.

    With all the problems in the world, you actually spend time complaining about this. Give that some thought.

    • StarTAC

      There’s 2 arguments made by apologists for Canadian carriers. (a) Canada is a sparse country therefore it costs a lot to erect and maintain an infrastructure. (b) Canada’s population is small therefore there is not as much revenue a national carrier can use to erect and maintain said infrastrcture. Therefore they argue Canadian carriers MUST charge their customers more. THAT IS A GROSS DECEPTION. HERE’S WHY.

      (a) Canada may be a large country geographically but its population is concentrated across a narrow southern border. Apart from vast areas of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba whose provincial crown corporations built (publicly subsidized) infrastructure, private carriers have built only in the populated narrow southern band. (Even then, there are large gaps such as northern Ontario along the Trans Canada Highway. For shame this is not continuous.) It is therefore reasonable to compare only this populated band. The population density of this narrow band is greater than the entire continental United States. But ever seen the breathtaking coverage map of a carrier such as Verizon? At best, how the coverage area is commensurate with population. Thus the argument that Canadian carriers have a smaller market relative to area they have to cover is deception.

      (b) The argument that Canadian carriers have limited income from a small population doesn’t hold up either because there are countries with less population than Canada but have more consumer friendly plans. Look at my links in the post made December 14, 2011, 11:09 am.

      Once again, Canada is NOT a sparsely populated country for all intent and purpose! Stop using this false argument!

    • Quinten

      See my previous post, lots of people are using this service and they do not have any other options.
      Rocket hub, Telus hub, Bell Hub, Candlelight communications, Core Broadband, cable, DSL, I install all of these depending on availability and there are many people who will not have internet available to them!

  • Dave

    I would just like to add that I have had this Rocket hub for a year now. I live just outside of Windsor and within a few kilometres of Rogers towers in two directions. There are few options for internet here. Anyone that thinks this service is fast or reliable is dreaming. It works for basic surfing and email but don’t expect to do any TV or Movie type downloads. I don’t think any one switching to this service from the other as Rogers suggests will be any happier and especially not for more cash.

  • Xplornet Dealer

    This network has been poorly supported from the beginning, with major capacity issues and signal strength problems. This Motorola Expedience gear puts a lot of strain on the network when users have poor signal strength.

    Xplornet is rolling out 4G WiMAX networks across much of Canada, especially in SW Ontario. Yes, the older Xplornet networks have issues, especially the unlicensed service, but the new networks really are top-notch modern 4G fixed wireless networks with lots of capacity and reliability. No, it’s not fibre, it’s not cable or DSL, but for rural it’s very good. Reliable and reasonable. 3Mbps package speed (not theoretical like HSPA/LTE) with 20GB for $49.99. 80GB available for $84.99. WAY more reasonable and more consistent to boot.

  • AL

    Just received notice from Bell that has of February 14, 2012, they will be discontuing the Portable Internet service. What a great Valentine’s Day Present.

  • Peter

    Is there a lawyer in the house? Isn’t there a law governing how long a service must be maintained when purchase of a component is required? I’ve had to buy two portable modems in my four years with Rogers after the first one failed.

  • Dman

    Has anyone figured out a solution or a different provider? I am located just outside of the city limits of Calgary in a bit of a valley and Portable internet was my only solution. Telus, for some reason wont install the component needed so people in my region could get ADSL.

    Now I have been paying approx 45/month for unlimited data. The closest plan that Rogers has is for 15gig and that is over 100$. The last time I tried to switch over to the Rocket Stick I used up half my data in 2 days and now they want you to sign a contract to have the privledge of using their service.

    In my opinion, if this company really believes that we are “Valued Customers” they should be giving us the Rocket hub and providing us with the 30Gig or Unlimited data we have been recieving and grandfather our monthly bill for the next two years.

    WE have already had to Buy our portable internet boxes, We have already had to sign contracts and now they want to screw us lock us into another shitty contract.

  • HenryW

    I had the rocket hub come today from rogers, walked it all around the house, got one light not enough speed to load up an internet page. It’s packed and on its way back. Mean while the rogers modem that I have on the outside of my house has a constant three light strength which suits me fine…… EXCEPT rogers will have that snipped March 1, 2012 and I am screwed…… No DSL, No cable, no other provider that isn’t sleeping with rogers. I guess we will be telling all our friends they will get their emails through Canada Post. Oh the joys of living on the fringe of Toronto.

  • TiffW

    I WAS with bell and i was informed the same thing. I used to have unlimited but now at this rate, 5 gig for 70 bucks. that’s how much i was paying. i simply told them that i’m cutting ties with them.

  • Stewart

    I used to work for Rogers and it sucked when dead Ted the nepotist was running things. I was there when rogers intalled and started mass calling machine waiting instead if a ” live” person so more customers would give up there complaints and hang up. This would falsly deacrease complaints so the government would give more tax breaks and incentives to rogers for appearing to be doing a better job. What scum bags! The CRTC is in on this scam and well aware, canadians be damned. Did everyone here also forget that it was decided aprox 4 years ago by the internet adviser councell that canada would be the test ground for how high a price can be charged for as little bandwidth / speed and smallest Gb’s cap provided. Because of my dealings in the entertainment buisness ( the film and music buisness) i can say from experience that the CRTC is in league with this agreement to the detriment of all Canadians. The CRTC answers to big buisness and NOT the Canadian citizens. Want proof; Our government even have Canadians en mass believing there is no inflation going on when most foods have actually doubled in price before our closed eyes! Wake up Canada !

  • Germain

    I upgraded from a dial-up service to Rogers Portable Internet back in 2007 and I have been relatively satisfied even with the bottom-tier service plan selected. I am quite disappointed that they are discontinuing the service.

    I choose the “Portable” service at that time, despite being in an urban area, because of the high probability of later relocation related to work; I surveyed their coverage maps to ensure that I would continue to be serviced in the most likely relocation regions just by moving the modem with me.

    I could have gone to cable internet service then and it is one of the options offered for post-March 1st 2012. So, I guess I have to consider myself lucky. Nevertheless, looking at all options including switching to a different service provider.

    The one thing I am finding surprising is that there is no announcement about the Inukshuk Bell-Rogers joint venture providing the infrastructure being closed-down. This makes me think that a service based on the same technology is likely to be offered down the road but with a less favorable pricing and with a bandwith cap.

  • Gilda

    I, like Tiff W, was informed by Bell as of March 13th, my rural modem is no longer available. Of course offering other ideas that are sooooooo expensive and told them that Bell cellphones do not work well or Bell Sticks (have had people try both) so how does one expect the Turbo stick/hub to work here. Too bad, so sad. I can literally walk to an area where there is full excellent internet service. There are people on my street that had to move their home businesses because of this problem. Thanks CRTC for supporting the local economy.
    I am enquiring about Xplorenet. Prayed at church this morning!!!!!

  • Denis

    we can have Internet XPLORNET 4G by satellite with DANIEL FORAND SATELLITE INC 819-372-0690 in Trois-Rivières I have it.

  • Warner

    the services, in rural areas often need funding from Gov’t to get it going. Rogers and Bell got our money and then left. A large number of voters gave Stephen Harper a mandate to allow the corporate structure here to rip us off and when a service, like a public service idea is discussed it is considered too left. Voters really get what they elected on this issue. Tony Clement is the biggest example of this as his own Muskoka riding was one of the first to have Rogers and Bell, cut the Wi/Max service because the rich can pay for 4G and the rest of us, get screwed. Consdering the news around the G20 and Tony, he still got re elected with a big majority. It is really not the fault of Rogers, it is the Harper Gov’t which sets the rules and determines what is important for services to its citizens. Politics is important but from the comments above, most do not get the clear message here. A vote really means something and with Tony, you get what you voted for.

  • Kev

    Anyone who thinks Rogers is a good company is screwed in the head.
    If Wal-mart prices suddenly jumped 4X and they offered less for that price, would you then say “hey, what a great company” shake your heads people!! We all live with inflation, but this is NOT inflation, this is an obvious trade of customers for PROFIT ONLY! 4G is expensive because of the phone revolution and Rogers and Bell are cashing in on it big time!. To me, that means I am nothing, not a customer but a dollar value. And I wasn’t “contributing” to the corporate greed. Find alternatives if you can, to the rural people, my condolences.

  • Corlaine

    Well…I guess Canada Post lost my letter from Roger’s last December as we were really suprised to discover this morning that we had no internet! After talking to a total of 13 (yes, 13) different people at Roger’s over a span of two hours, we have discovered that our email account is now wiped out but they can send us out a spanking new rocket hub to us if we sign up for a handy dandy 3 year contract. The rocket hub simply doesn’t work here (we have tried it before) so we are left with nothing. I find it absolutely unbelieveable that this company can terminate service after sending out one letter (which we didn’t get anyway). Hey, I have an idea: why don’t you email us the notice?? But, I guess as long as we were paying our bill they weren’t too concerned. I too live outside a city of 55000 people who still can’t get cable or ADSL. We have satellite as we can’t even get cable. Totally pissed off…

    • Sturbain

      It might be worth looking into Xplornet’s service. They have announced both terrestrial and satellite based 4G to the home and offer it across Canada. They have one new 4G satellite already up and a second one going up soon. I’ve been a customer for a few years, and have just signed on to the new satellite service. The experience on the old satellite was mixed, but the new satellite package is working really well.

  • strubain

    No question Xplornet has gone through an evolution. But they are ploughing millions into 4G service into rural Canada. Whereas the big telcos are shutting down in rural.

  • Gerald

    It’s March 22 and my Bell Portable 3MBps internet is still working. havent received any kind of notice about a shutdown. ??????

  • Don

    they sold me the equipment! I paid to have a tower installed to operate it!now they don’t operate the system anymore! I’ll be seeiing someone from the 9th floor in court!they best be prepared my lawyer is hungry!

  • Keith Vanderkley

    So after my first month of being forced to switch to the “Hub” I am totally disillusioned with not only the performance of the service…I spend 8 Gig trying to download a 2 Gig program upgrade for Mac LION, after which I had to travel to Toronto’s Appel store since the downloaded file was corrupted…. and looked at my bill. What used to be a $50 dollar monthly Wireless Rural Internet bill had turned into a $172 dollar bill, after my initial $132 dollar bill for getting through the first set-up and activation. So I spend 300 dollars in just over a month of service, and continue to get screwed by bell since this is the only alternative they offer. We live in North Oshawa….just 5 km away from a digital hub, and have No cable, no fibreoptic, no gas, no water, no sewer, just hydro and twisted pair copper wire with all the static and crackling one could ask for. Having traveled throughout Canada, I have experienced better Services in labrador and NWT! Looking for alternatives !!!

  • lynn

    im having a very bad time with the roger rocket hub. last month i paid $215 for 32GB and barely know what my kids used on… i called cancel they said i have to pay $280 penalty. i tried to use it for another month with limit 17 GB and i got charged $160. i have to cancel them finally with the fines and will never do anything with this company again. ROGERS is busted

  • john

    Three months ago i got a rocet hube from t.bay tell and no one told me that i would be paying over 200.oo a month for internet and telephone I don,t make long distant calls and i only read my email and bros the net no down load of any kind

    this is bullshit welome to canada land of license and permits
    and get f-cked by every service in canada including our gov
    they want the the g.s.t this country is the as hole of the world when it comes to customer service just

  • Cameron

    Anyone who has bought this garbage will agree with my its absolutely terrible,

    Buy this is you want your internet to drop every 5minutes for 2-3minute periods of time. so frustrating.
    Also don’t expect to get speeds that are much better than dial up.

    Rogers will lie through there teeth to sell this garbage.

  • Rockin Rog

    Add me to Rogers $350.00/mnth billage for 1 cell phone and 32 Gigs useage on my RocketHub.

    Incase you missed it $350.00/mnth! Really>? I’m out sorry..oh and the sore bum fee of 200.00 to end the HUB fee contract. Guess the Exec/President of Rogers can now plan next summers steak night on me at the Cottage. Thank You…

  • Justin

    I had portable for 5 years, and it was flawless. It went down maybe once the whole time. the 4g system I have just cancelled sucked SO BADLY. I have such a case of ROGERS RAGE. I HATE YOU I HATE YOU I HATE YOU. I have just cancelled our 4g hub, and our home account, and 32 of our office accounts. Hahaha, Rogers you shot yourselves in the foot. I have also sent out flyers to all my neighbours in the building I live in, and told them about a new cable service for $29 permonth with 100Gb usage (Start.ca). So far rogers have lost 11 accounts in our building not including mine, so in total they have lost 45 customers because of this lack of respect to us. I encourage everyone reading this to look for other isp, rogers doesn’t deserve your money.