Rogers Cable Inc., Canada's largest
cable operator, kept pace in an increasingly competitive high-speed Internet
access war yesterday when it launched a long-awaited and low-priced Web
portal in conjunction with Yahoo! Inc.
The launch of the Rogers.yahoo.com site, which features a combination of content
and services such as music streaming, Internet security, parental controls,
anti-spam software and additional storage for e-mails, comes one month after
Bell Canada and Microsoft Corp. introduced a similar alliance.
" Bell is moving forward so they needed to keep up," said Brian Sharwood,
an analyst with the Seaboard Group consultancy. "They needed to have a product
that worked and they needed to get it out quickly."
Unlike the sympatico.msn site, the Rogers-Yahoo offering is available at no
extra charge to Rogers 830,000 high-speed Internet customers though it won't
be available in Newfoundlanders until the fall.
Bell, by contrast, is selling Sympatico and MSN Premium for $44.95 a month
for consumers that sign a 12-month contract or buy a digital bundle. Other
Bell high-speed customers have to pay $4.95 a month for MSN Premium, while
dial-up and high-speed "lite" customers have to pay $9.95 a month.
Rogers charges $44.95 for its High-Speed Extreme Internet service while its
high-speed "lite" service sells for $29.95 a month.
The portals give telecommunications firms and cable companies another weapon
in their bid to offer consumers a "triple play" of digital television,
high-speed Internet and telephony services and helps service providers differentiate
high-speed Internet access packages.
Rogers and Yahoo first announced the co-branded service in January.
Yahoo has similar deals with SBC Communications in the U.S. and British
Telecom in the
Mr. Sharwood says Rogers needs to launch enhanced services, such as a home
networking package to connect computers, to generate revenue from the site.
Michael Lee, vice-president, strategy and development with Rogers, says he
expects all Rogers high-speed customers will eventually register and use
the portal. Industry observers expect portals will be used by companies as
a marketing tool to lure customers to high-speed services, which are more
Though Rogers expects to co-operate further with Yahoo in the future, Mr. Lee
said it's unlikely Yahoo will take an equity stake in the cable company.