Rogers struggles with @Home transition

The migration of Rogers Communications’ cable subscribers continues to be a bumpy ride for many.

So bumpy, in fact, that Rogers issued a press release Tuesday morning asking customers to go to its Web site for migration information and not call the customer service centre.

Rogers@Home users have been moving from bankrupt @Home’s system to one operated by Rogers since last week. Under this process users would move from an address to an address. Cogeco Cable Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. made a similar move earlier this year. Rogers has a history of service outages during its relationship with @Home, including a period that lasted at least two days in January.

Chris Weisdorf, president and technical director of the Residential Broadband Users’ Association, says customers have run into mail and news server issues since the transition began, as well as dynamic host configuration protocol and ex-Shaw regions problems.

Rogers representatives did not return calls before press time.

Weisdorf says one of the most frustrating issues surrounds the mail servers: users cannot send mail unless it has a address.

“Many people are very upset about that,” he says. “Rogers says it’s not going to stay like that, but who knows when it’s going to change?”

If the press release and an e-mail sent to Weisdorf are any indication, Rogers could also be doing a better job on the information dissemination as well, as many customers seem confused.

“It’s totally unacceptable to me that there are busy signals on the support line, or that people have to wait more than 10 minutes to get through. People are waiting for hours. I received an e-mail from a guy that said he waited for four hours on the phone. Four hours! Unbelievable.”

The news isn’t all bad for Rogers, however. Weisdorf says subscribers aren’t nearly as mad as they were last fall when “the problems were a million times worse.”

“With a big transition like this a lot of people do expect there to be some problem, but what’s frustrating is some of the information that’s posted is wrong or it doesn’t work on some people’s computers. Rogers hasn’t been very forthcoming with information regarding the changes,” Weisdorf adds.

Mark Quigley, a research director with Yankee Group in Ottawa, says the problems should have little to no impact on Rogers’ reputation or user numbers. He says subscribers understand this is a “mammoth” task and the result should be improved service.

“One could argue that Rogers should have taken a similar approach to Shaw and Cogeco and should have started doing this a while ago,” says Quigley, but adds, “I suspect with the next four or five days the majority if not all of those customers will have been successfully ported over.”

Weisdorf agrees. He says there are issues associated with DSL lines and Rogers users have seen much worse.

“It is a massive transition and you have to expect some of this stuff. It’s worse than it should be, but it’s not as bad as it was a year ago or at the end of 1998 which is when the service really collapsed,” says Weisdorf.

Rogers Communications has approximately 422,000 Canadian customers.

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