Posts Tagged 'sympatico'

Bell Sympatico aims to squeeze out wholesalers

Usage based billing will be the end of Internet DSL wholesale companies in Canada. Bell raised the idea last year in a response to a CRTC ruling forcing them to allow their wholesalers the same service offering they had. UBB is the end of unlimited flat rate Internet plans for many smaller companies. Bell plans to implement the billing system at the end May this year. So much for competition.

So not only do Bell Sympatico customers have to deal with unnecessary slow Internet due to throttling but monthly access fees will also rise. Oops you went over your monthly cap, that will be an extra $20. Will it be any surprise when BCE’s profit results are up by the end of the year? If only there were another service provider. In Canada there is Rogers and Bell, both which suck balls. (link)

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Bell Sympatico Internet: the fine print

Thinking of signing up with Bell for you Internet service? Make sure you read the fine print. There are several tiers of service you can get. Essential 0.5 Mbit line, Essential Plus 2Mbit, Performance 7Mbit, Max10 10Mbit, Max16 which is 16Mbit. However you may have missed the part about “within acceptable speed range”. WHA? Yeah, they key thing about those packages is that you can get UP TO X Mbps speeds. Just because you’re subscribed to a 16Mbps package doesn’t mean you will actually receive those kinds of speeds, nor anything approaching those speeds.

According to the techs performance will vary depending on your location and distance from the Bell office. So long as you’re within the “acceptable performance range” no tech will come out to upgrade the physical line to your home. For the 10Mbps package that means 1.5Mbps to 10Mbps. So even if you’re on the most expensive package but far away from the Bell office, you will get crappy download speeds. You will get the exact same speeds if you were on a cheaper package. I don’t know about you but paying $52.95 for “up to 10Mbps” and getting a 5Mbps performance is simply unacceptable. So what are you paying for? Essentially a bigger download cap and that’s it.

I don’t mind paying more so long as the service I receive is “as advertised” or is an improvement on my previous service. This tiered system by Bell is just a scam, fooling people into believing they will receive “faster downloads” on a more expensive plan. Simply put, it’s false advertising.

Also the whole “live chat” with a Bell representative is irritating. I’ve chatted with several reps this past week and all of them do not know the meaning of customer service. I’ve had chat sessions closed while in mid chat by the rep and then when reconnecting and attempting to reconnect with the previous rep only to be told “that rep is currently busy”. Nice way to avoid the issue. Not only are they uninformed but they also gave quite a bit of attitude, like I should be “thankful” that I’m getting the speeds that I currently get with the impression that many other customers experience worse speeds than I do. This is not the right approach to customer service. If you’re a Bell Sympatico customer I urge you to switch services. Send a message to Bell that this is simply unacceptable.

CRTC rules in favor of Bell, against net neutrality

If you’re wondering who’s side the CRTC is on, it’s not the consumer. The CRTC recently ruled that Bell Sympatico’s throttling practices did not discriminate against the ISP wholesalers. In essence Bell and Rogers are free to do as they please. Many have already voiced their displeasure with the decision. Consumers are lamenting the seemingly attack on their Internet freedoms however the Internet wholesalers are the ones getting screwed here.

See how it normally works is that companies tend to favor the customers who usually have big orders. In this case the guys buying large chunks of Internet time are getting the opposite end of the stick. Thanks for your business, now fuck you!

The CRTC is planning on holding another meeting on general traffic shaping practices in February. I’m sure it will be well attended.

Bell decides to punish wholesale ISPs where it hurts

Despite the fact that bandwidth costs for ISPs are dropping as fast as user traffic rates rise, many ISPs still face congestion problems at the last mile, and Bell Canada is no exception, as internal data recently showed. Not content with simply throttling P2P traffic for ten hours a day, the company has just announced plans to impose usage-based billing on the small ISPs that buy wholesale access from Bell. In some cases, the “free” monthly limit will be as low as 2GB. No, that’s not a typo.

News of the move began to percolate through online forums this week as small ISPs expressed outrage over a practice that could make them even less competitive with Bell, and it then expanded (a bit) into blogs and outlets like the CBC. The Canadian government requires Bell to lease access to other firms because of its infrastructure dominance, but Bell recently extended its P2P throttling techniques from its own ISP service (Sympatico) to wholesalers as well. (link)

Numbers show Bell’s throttling making congestion worse

In the accompanying letter, Bell buckles up and takes a tortuous metaphor involving roads for a lengthy drive in order to illustrate its point that even low congestion numbers can cause big problems. Visualize a traffic accident at a busy intersection: even though the “network” is congested at only one point, it can still have repercussions for users in the entire area. Just to make sure no one gets the idea that these low percentages are actually no big deal, Bell spells out its message in small words so that we can all understand.

“While these numbers may seem low to the average layperson,” says the letter, “they are significant and network traffic engineers such that it is important to consider the number of congested links in the proper context.” (link)

CRTC to Bell: prove it or stop throttling

Bell Canada Inc. has been ordered to publicly disclose information that details the level of congestion on its network in regard to a dispute over the company’s internet speed-throttling practices.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on Thursday told the company it has until June 23 to make public data that was marked confidential in a May 29 filing. Bell had said it needed to keep quiet the information, which details the level of internet traffic and possible congestion on its network, for competitive reasons.

In a letter sent to Bell, CRTC director general of competition, costing and tariffs Paul Godin said the need for public disclosure outweighed the company’s competitive privacy concerns.

“Commission staff has determined, based on all the material before it, that no specific direct harm would likely result from disclosure, or that the public interest in disclosure outweighs any specific direct harm that might result from disclosure,” he wrote. (link)

CRTC to debate traffic throttling

Canada’s telecommunications watchdog will set its sights this week on a controversial Bell Canada policy that reduces customers’ connection speeds.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will begin deliberations tomorrow to determine if Bell’s “bandwidth throttling” should stop immediately until government policy is set.

Bell’s practice has upset the Canadian Association of Internet Providers. The 50 association members lease portions of Bell’s network to deliver high-speed Internet services, and they contend that Bell’s actions have led to unacceptably slow connections for their customers. Many pay as much as $50 a month for the fastest Internet subscription available. (link)


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