Rogers Ventures into Pilot Project


Rogers Communication Inc. (RCI), one of the leading telecom carriers of Canada, has launched a new broadband-based Internet pilot project that is aimed at providing Internet access to youth and to low income families.

The initiative is known as ‘Connected for Success’ and is part of Rogers Youth Fund program. The project will begin later this year and will bring affordable Internet and other technical support services to Toronto Community Housing (TCLRY). Notably, TCH is the largest social housing provider in Canada with 58,000 homes and 170,000 residents.

Under the pilot project, the eligible residents of TCH will get Internet access for C$9.95 with a download speed of 3 Mbit/sec and up to 30 GB of usage allowance. Rogers has also tied up with Microsoft Corporation’s (MSFT) Canadian subsidiary and Compugen that will allow TCH residents to buy computers for C$150. Additionally, the computer will be integrated with complementary software and buyers will receive special technical support.

However, residents receiving rent subsidies will be eligible for the program, which represents about one-thirds of the TCH households. Toronto-based Rogers also plans to expand its program in Ontario and Atlantic Canada service footprint.  

Within a year, this is the second initiative by Rogers to bridge the digital divide after it launched Rogers Youth Fund and Tech Essentials. Both the programs aim at increasing digital literacy and have seen participation from 85,000 students over the last one year.

Although Connected for Success is first of its kind in Canada, it is already present in the U.S. through Connect2Compete, which was established in late 2011.The program has several big companies as its national partners including the largest U.S. cable MSO, Comcast Corporation (CMCSA). This initiative also provides broadband access at $9.95 to low income communities along with providing computers and technical support at a nominal price.

Connected for Success aims to bring broadband connection to the people of Canada, who cannot afford the high monthly cable fees of $35- $45. Consequently, this will enhance Rogers’ customer base. With only 20% of Canada’s low income families accessing the Internet, we believe that Rogers’ latest project will offer network connectivity to more people

Currently, Rogers carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Among other stocks, Telus Corp. (TU) carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and is worth considering.

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