<rant fair-warning=”given”>

After a yearlong campaign of your incessant advertising in which you claim to know what the future of tv / internet / mobile is and that, and for only $2500/mth, all this can be yours. I don’t know who it is you have been talking to about what the general public wants but I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to recognize them from the two big butt cheek impressions on their face.

At no point has anyone asked me – the CUSTOMER – what I want. You know – maybe you might get something useful if you were to climb down out of that CRTC protected ivory tower and talked to us small people down here. Then again – that would imply caring – something which is obvious you feel is not in the best interest of your shareholders.

Not-withstanding – I’m finally fed up and just need to rant on this as it just boils my blood the fact that you keep coming out with all these moronic services that are so way off the mark of anything that I actually want out of my communications service provider. Maybe you’ll listen – maybe not – here goes anyways.

  1. Free Local News and Weather Channels – Access to information is an essential service. We need this for news, weather, and emergency broadcast announcements. Combine this with the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain broadcast signals out of the air anymore. Like 911 service this shouldn’t be something that people should be forced to pay massive charges in order to get access to.
  2. Free 2-3 Gb of download per household for every household across Canada. I realize that isn’t much but it’s enough to get access to essential news and services on the web and enable a range of additional services including health and security monitoring. It’s not like between cable and phone service that every household in 80% of Canada isn’t already hooked up. If the difference is simply a matter of someone setting a parameter in a database and/or adding removing a limiter/filter in the local communications hub – then just turn the damn thing on and leave it on. From a costing perspective it’s not really an increase to the fixed cost of service even thou the marketing people who set the price of the service want us to believe otherwise.
  3. Stop creating services that are constantly reaching into our pockets to be nickled and dimed every time you introduce a minor advancement. There are thousands of new tablet and mobile apps that become available every month for free. There is no reason why your piddle-ass little enhancement has to cost $12.95/mth
  4. Stop lying in your promotional materials. A whole home PVR isn’t a whole home PVR if you need to rent 6 additional HD receivers at $7/mth (bell) or $12/mth (rogers) to make the system work. It’s misleading and just pisses people off when they have to search through 20 pages to finally find the small print that shows exactly how expensive the system actually is.
  5. Stop tying us to your hardware. My Digital TV has a tuner in it that is capable of going as high as anything you guys can come up with including PVR capabilities and all these neat little apps like facebook and others. Either design your own damn TV or stop trying to take control over mine. There is no reason why you can’t redesign the controller so as to become more like a router, allowing for 1-x tv/computer connections (raw), 1-y tv/computer connections (with tuner) and 2-2z PVR settings (read/write pairs). That way my TV can do its job without interference from your hardware but if I want to use your tuner and functions I can still do that. This is not rocket science – we have the technology.
  6. Make mobile apps truly “tv anywhere”. I already pay a ridiculous sum of money for TV. I shouldn’t have to be forced to pay twice, by the hour, for something I already have. If Netflix can stream to my home as much content as I want for $8.95/mth there is no reason that you need to be asking $1/hr for the doing the same just because I happen to be using a tablet.
  7. Beyond this – I want to be able to access the channels I’m already paying for – not some sub-set of channels I will never watch even if you paid me to. There is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to get WPBS or TreeHouse if that is what I want to watch. If you are going to offer this service the least you can do is do it right.
  8. Rogers on demand = a pile of free programs that I will never watch. Have you ever thought about maybe asking YOUR CUSTOMERS what shows they want to see rather than just putting up whatever is the latest in low cost content? Content that is low cost btw because no one wanted to watch it the first time around. Case in point: National Geographic on Demand – thousands of hours of some of the most simulating documentaries in the world and what does Rogers On Demand give us – 10 hours of the crap from the bottom of the NG garbage bin. Who the hell picks this stuff?
  9. Movies on demand at a price point that makes sense compared to the rest of the market place. If I rent 1-2 movies from Rogers and I might as well have purchased a subscription to NetFlix.
  10. Let me select what channels I want to look at – in what order. There is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to put together a bundle of channels and label them 1, 2, 3, 4, …. Rather than having to go 23, 57, 33, 44, 127, 562, 867, 900, 720….. If you are going to force us to use your technology the least you could do is give us some control (esp Bell) over not having to scroll through 5000 pages of channels to find the 7-10 channels we watch most often.
  11. And that stupid little “favorites” button which only moves up to the next favorite and not down to the previous one – useless as all git. I want to be able to see what is happening with all my favorites in one spot – not have to loop around 20 times because the rest of the channel guide is cluttered with crap I don’t care about.
  12. Bring the entire cost of service down. Phone, Mobile, and Internet services combined right at the moment are pushing into the third heaviest expense on an average family’s income behind taxes and mortgage payments. That cost has to come down by at least half. People shouldn’t have to be choosing between their phone / cable service and food / heat
  13. Get rid of the three-year, we have you by the balls, contracts. I get it. I use to work in the telecommunications industry and have more than a passing understanding of how everything works from cell towers, to routing, to marketing, to costing and pricing. An iphone is expensive. It’s essentially a miniature computer that is being sold / given away at near cost using a three-year payment plan. If I decide to break my contract early – you want to be paid for the phone – fair enough. That doesn’t give you the right however to charge me an additional $20-50/mth for every month left on my contract over and above the cost of the phone plus any accrued interest. How hard can it be for you guys to coordinate a central financing body that looks after the amortization of hardware purchases and simply transfers those monthly charges from carrier to carrier if I decide to switch? It’s one thing to ‘encourage’ loyalty through reasonable switching costs, it’s a whole other thing to take away people’s dignity through financial imprisonment. It’s unethical. It’s immoral. It is just plain wrong.
  14. Stop with the incessant “this content can’t be viewed from your country” (Mr. CRTC). The entire fabric of Canadian culture isn’t going to come crashing down just because someone wants to watch a rerun on NBC, Hulu, BBC, or, heaven forbid, maybe something educational from PBS. There is no reason for this kind of protectionism. If the Canadian film and television industry are so worried about not being able to compete, then maybe we should be investing in better content, global promotion, and, wait for it – here is the radical part – PEOPLE, rather than forcing mediocrity onto the Canadian public and calling it culture. The US television industry is half Canadians already so there is no reason to think that if these artificial barriers were to suddenly come down that we’re all going to hell. I guess it is okay for the US to steal all of our water, oil, and natural resources under NAFTA but the all-mighty film and television industry needs draconian protectionist mechanisms. Is it just me or do we have our priorities screwed up here?
  15. Get rid of the damn proxy servers (BELL). It’s all well and good that you want to “speed up” my internet experience but I don’t want some nebulous server sitting between me and my data deciding whether it should be cached for 4 hours or not. I want a nice, clean, uninterrupted pipe from my computer to the web site / service I’m looking to engage in without someone else interfering with the connection.
  16. Same goes for all the bloatware that you insist has to be installed in my computer whenever I order a new connection. It’s fine if you list it as an option but you don’t. It’s part of the “install this or your internet will not work” procedure manual which is complete BS. You should be up front about the fact that such bloatware is optional and has absolutely jack to do with being able to reach Google or anywhere else once you have an IP address established to the network.
  17. Stop with the DNS redirects already (ROGERS). If I hit a web site and it issues a 404 error message, or if I mis-type a URL and I get a 500 error code, there is no reason for you to be intercepting these error codes and redirecting my internet connection to a web page of your choosing. In order to pull this off you have to essentially hack my connection to intercept and interpret whether an error message is contained within these packets. Stop – it is offensive and intrusive and has NOTHING TO DO with how a DNS functions. My system is perfectly capable of interpreting a wide range of error messages without your help. And what is even more offensive is the fact that your “opt-out” option isn’t really an opt-out option but merely displays a different page also served up from your system. If I tell you I want to opt-out – that means completely not “we’ll just BS the customer and they’ll never be the wiser”.

But who and I kidding – Unless government changes what the policy rules are a number of these things (not the favorites button obviously) the CRTC and cable/internet providers are just going to continue to screw with people, not giving them what they want, and then wondering why we are all peeved off with them.

Either way – these are my top pet peeves. I’m sure others have their own. Do I feel better. Yep. Am I still going to be pissed every time I get a new “oh look at [Bell|Rogers] and what we have to offer” and its full of BS that is nothing more than a cash grab. Oh hell yes.


— Kevin Feenan


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