Without any announcement, Rogers Cable this month has cut service on some of its most popular Internet Service plans without any changes in pricing. The changes mean that Rogers customers will have to subscribe to more expensive internet plans in order to receive the same level of service.

For example, customers who wish to subscribe to the "Extreme" service will now have an 80 GB bandwidth cap versus 90 GB in the past. That's an 11% decrease in service without any decrease in price. To get back to a 90 GB allowance, potential Rogers Extreme customers who would have paid $60 a month for Internet service will now be forced to buy the $70 a month Extreme Plus service plan.

That's a massive 16% increase in order to maintain the same level of service.

Going forward, customers wishing to sign up for Rogers' $36 a month "lite" service will see their service level chopped by 40% (from 25GB a month to 15GB per month) without any reduction in price. To get back to that 25GB cap, new Rogers customers will have to subscribe to the Express package which is $40 a month or 39% more expensive.

The service cutbacks at Rogers should be of no surprise to consumers. Over the last several years in Ontario, competition in the Internet services business has been virtually eliminated through the anti-competitive use of bundling. Save a few resellers who are systematically being squeezed out by the CRTC, the only meaningful Internet service providers in Ontario are Rogers and Bell.

Not surprisingly, the duopoly in Internet services in Ontario has led to annual rate increases well in excess of inflation and cutbacks in service. While the excessive price increases have been well documented in the news, what hasn't been widely reported is the dramatic decrease in the level of service via bandwidth cap reductions and the loss of ancillary services.

For example, a new Rogers Ultra-Lite customer in 2006 was given an unlimited bandwidth cap. In 2008, that was reduced to a cap of 60GB and in 2010 that cap was reduced to 2GB. To get back to the 60GB cap, a new Rogers customer would have to forego the $28 Ultra-Lite package and subscribe to the $47 a month Extreme package, an effective price increase of 75%.

In addition to cutting bandwidth and increasing prices, Rogers has also cut back many previously free services in the last several years including free personal web hosting and free Flickr pro accounts. A Flickr Pro account now costs $24.95 per year.

When viewed over several years, the price increase and service drops have been dramatic. In 2006, a Rogers Extreme customer paid $46.95 a month with no bandwidth throttling, Flickr Pro, a free personal web account and an Unlimited bandwidth cap. Today a new customers would need to sign up to Rogers Ultimate service at $100 per month for a 175 GB cap and it would not include the Flickr Pro account.

Discuss in Digital Home's Rogers Home Phone and Internet forum.