News tagged: Bell Sympatico
You might recall that back in 2013, some DSLReports.com regulars, including University of Manitoba graduate student Ben Klass ( bklass
), filed a complaint against Bell
in Canada. Basically, they were annoyed by the fact that Bell's $5 a month Bell Mobile TV service -- which provides 10 hours of live or recorded TV show access each month -- didn't count against user usage caps, while competing services unfairly did.
It's not entirely dissimilar to complaints here in the States about Comcast exempting Comcast video transferred via the Xbox
from Comcast usage caps. In Comcast's case, the company tried to claim that what they were doing wasn't violating the principle of net neutrality because at least a portion of the data transmissions occur over a private IP network rather than the public Internet.
Bell took a different but similar approach, and tried to claim that they weren't violating net neutrality, because the neutrality provisions of Canada's Digital Media Exemption Order (DMEO) only apply to telecom services. Bell's Mobile TV service, Bell claimed, is a broadcast television service and therefore not governed by net neutrality.
Unlike here in the States, Canadian regulators didn't buckle to the incumbent's claims, and at the tail end of January ruled the practice unlawful
(this impacted a similar service offered by Videotron). Bell is of course appealing, and is actually going after consumers like Klass and the other consumer advocacy groups involved in the complaint financially by demanding they pay Bell's legal costs
In addition to seeking the right to appeal, it is asking for Klass and other respondents in the lawsuit, including several other individuals and groups representing consumers, to cover its legal costs.
Network gear manufacturer Sandvine apparently isn't a big fan of both Netflix's and YouTube's new ISP streaming performance rankings, insisting that the data collected by both is unreliable and conflicting. In a blog post
, Sandvine points out that ISPs deemed "HD Verified" by Google's new ISP ranking (discussed by us here
) are sometimes categorized as under-performers in Netflix's rankings, and vice-versa:
Google is essentially saying Rogers’ customers who use YouTube are capable of regularly experiencing HD streams, while Netflix is saying Rogers’ subscribers are experiencing the worst quality of Netflix streaming in the country.
Comcast continues to climb Netflix's rankings of the fastest streaming ISPs after striking a controversial interconnection deal with the company back in February
. According to Netflix's monthly ranking list
, Comcast jumped another two spots to take the third place spot in the rankings (or 16 if you include smaller ISPs like Google Fiber and many cable overbuilders).
Documents provided by Edward Snowden last week revealed that the Canadian government (CSEC, their NSA equivalent) has been quite illegally spying on and tracking Canadian citizens
using public Wi-Fi available at Canadian airports to track movement both before and after citizens visited the airport. The specifics of how the government obtained the location data isn't made clear, but Canada's two largest airports, Toronto and Vancouver, deny providing CSEC with the data.
The Globe and Mail
highlights how the next generation of downloadable games from Sony (at 30 to 80GB) are going to really start pushing Canadian bandwidth caps, which are considerably more restrictive than those here in the States. That's before Sony even launches Playstation Now
, a gaming streaming service not unlike OnLive, or Sony's 4K video streams and downloads
-- both of which may very well start eating Canadian bandwidth caps like popcorn shrimp. "The debate over Canada’s usage caps will either spark up again or the company will have to purposely degrade PlayStation Now in Canada, the same way Netflix did to its service, or both," notes the paper.
Canadian Law Professor Michael Geist points out
Canadian lawmakers say they're working on new rules
that would require Canadian cable operators to offer a la carte content to consumers. "We don't think it's right for Canadians to have to pay for bundled television channels that they don't watch," said Canadian Industry Minister James Moore. "We want to unbundle television channels and allow Canadians to pick and pay the specific television channels that they want." There's a majority interest in more flexible channel options
here in the States, but usually only fleeting lip service by cable operators when it comes to providing them -- a la carte or otherwise.
Last month independent Canadian ISP TekSavvy all-but accused Rogers Communications of intentionally bumbling customer install and repair orders
, creating a massive backlog of issues in order to help drive their competitors out of business. When I spoke to Rogers the company denied blame
, instead blaming TekSavvy for missing necessary support forecasts and somehow "overwhelming" Rogers third party support resources.
Indie Canadian ISP TekSavvy
isn't having a very good summer, and it appears Canadian incumbent Rogers is to thank for much of it. You'll probably recall that over the last few years independent Canadian ISP has built quite a name for itself for being a more consumer-friendly sort of ISP.
If you've watched any of them do business for more than a few minutes, it has been amusing to watch Canadian incumbents Bell, Telus and Rogers kick, scream and cry about Verizon's possible entry into the Canadian market
. Their Fair for Canada
TV and radio campaign has employees reading scripted statements proclaiming that Verizon will steal Canadian jobs and generally make Canadian wireless service (already some of the most expensive anywhere) worse.
Canadian incumbents Telus, Bell and Rogers have recently fired up attack campaigns
attempting to keep Verizon Wireless from entering their market. The campaign
uses incumbent employees reading from scripts to insist that Canadian telcos simply want a "level playing field" and that Verizon will kill jobs.
As we've noted repeatedly, ISPs are so hungry to cash in on caps and overages, they're rushing toward implementing meters without making sure they work. Canadian cable operator Cogeco has been the absolute worst on this front, implementing metered usage charges back in 2009 -- and four years later still often struggling to measure usage correctly. story continues..
Back in May our users uncovered a Canadian scam being run by several individuals who were pretending to be entirely fake ISPs
in order to collect customer cash and private user information. Using ISP names like "Cable Gator" and "Go Cable Solutions," the scammers promise users broadband service they can't get, demand $100 down payments and personal data including SIN and driver's license numbers, then skirt off with the cash.
It has been incredibly amusing to watch Canadian incumbents Bell, Telus and Rogers, no strangers to abusive and predatory anti-competitive behavior at every opportunity, kick, scream and cry about Verizon's possible entry into the Canadian market
. Now that the predators are having to fight a real predator and the possibility of real competition, they're doing what any good, anti-competitive incumbent would do: engage in propaganda, disinformation and astroturfing to confuse the public.
With the recent news that Verizon might be eyeing an entry into the Canadian wireless market, last week Canadian incumbent Telus began crying like a spoiled child
about the remote possibility that the Canadian market could see some additional competition. Telus, a company that like U.S.
As we noted yesterday
, Verizon Wireless is putting out feelers and exploring the option of an expansion into Canada, specifically in the form of buying up one of the nation's struggling smaller carriers. Not too surprisingly, incumbent operators there don't want this to happen.
It has been about half a decade now that I've been pointing out that most of the meters used by ISPs to track and bill consumers for usage aren't accurate. Customers of Canadian cable operator Cogeco have long complained the company's meter is inaccurate when users can load it at all
, and every so often the meter simply goes mad -- like last Spring when the meter was horribly confused by leap year
Bell Canada today announced that the company would give users of its fiber to the node (and in some instances FTTH) "Fibe" service an unlimited connection free of data caps -- if
users are willing to pay a price premium. According to the company's press release
, users tired of dealing with caps and overages can return to the joys of unlimited data for an additional $10 on top of existing triple play service, or $30 on top of existing double play or standalone Fibe service.
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